The library is huge. Layered planks of wood make up the arches of the space in the Dare District. From where I sit, I can see the hills of Gatineau Park and birds flying in front of clouds.
I love libraries. It has been a while since I have been in one because of COVID-19. There is something about going to the library and touching books, casually picking one out and going to a quiet chair to read.
The front windows are clean and reveal an expanse of gray-blue clouds, slowly floating eastward over red-tinged trees. In the west, the sun is setting behind a building as spectacular cumulus clouds move to the northeast. The back of one cloud reflects the light and I can see rain from this vantage point. I am going to miss this view when I graduate.
I live in a small townhouse with small rooms. There is nothing special about it except for what my son and I put into it. To come into a space like this is a treat. I can smell the cedar, see the intricate woodwork—there is no practical reason why there are hundreds of wood strappings on the arch. Giant metal rings of lights run down the middle of the expansive room. I am going to miss sitting in a space where the walls are nowhere near me.
My practical German father would say there is a lot of wasted space in this library. I remember going with him into Toronto’s Eaton Centre when it had just opened. We went up to the highest place you could go and then my dad started complaining: “What is the point of having these huge open spaces if people aren’t going to be doing anything in them?” But I think the point of grand, artistic rooms is to allow people to feel as if they are in another world.
I am going to miss this beautiful indoor space which has offered me respite from daily stressors. I dream about living in a cedar house with lots of windows. But that costs money I do not have, so this is the next best thing. I feel so privileged to be able to sit in our library. I will surely miss this place when I graduate.