As life washes frantically around us, like a rushing, turbid river of to-dos and commitments, I can find peaceful eddy in a book.
"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". On a sun-dappled porch, with a warm cup of coffee in hand, the first 50 pages of this book transport me. It is 1912 in New York and eleven year old Francie Nolan is making her way through one Saturday, from start to finish. I am with her, turning in collected junk for pennies, ironing her father's waiter apron, going to confession with her best friend and bargaining with the butcher for the end of a tongue. She buys sugar buns, a "not too crushed stale fruit pie" for supper and eavesdrops in on the lives of her neighbours, absorbing what she can with her young ears.
It is a perfect 50 pages.
I am not in Point Roberts. I am in Brooklyn. I leave starving Francie's world behind to return to my full cupboards and comfort, wondering what a loaf of old bread, turned into paste and baked with boiled rock sugar could taste like.