Dear NBG Community,
Last Saturday, I spent a delightful morning mending books with four other NBG members at the Literacy Council of Alaska. To fulfill one of NBG’s community outreach goals, this dedicated cohort meets twice a month to repair books, supporting the sale of donated books at the Literacy Council's Forget-Me-Not Book Store. As I looked around the room at the socially-distanced and masked book-menders, I was aware of the patience and skill it takes to repair worn and damaged books. I spent a few hours working on a book published 110 years ago, detaching a broken spine from the cover boards and getting the text block ready for new end sheets. As I worked, I thought about what it means to mend, what it takes to mend a book. What it takes to mend anything. As book makers, our hands both create and repair, making the book whole again.
As 2020 comes to a close, we look back on the past nine months and see how much the Covid Pandemic has altered our lives, how much we need to mend. How do we inhabit a world that is broken, continually breaking? What can we bring that might heal, might mend the rips and splits, the tears and torn edges? Like the NBG volunteers at the Literacy Council, I believe we all have the desire to heal what is broken. The authors of Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Heart, Nina and Sonya Montenegro, have some encouraging words for our times:
Making something whole again is also a form of healing.
Learning to mend gives us a new lens through which to problem solve.
(Something) we thought was beyond repair is now stitched back together
by our own two hands and we discover we are more resilient than we thought.
All menders are joined together in a beautiful act of restoration.
As I close this year’s final newsletter, I feel the ever-darkening days of winter descend. I look forward to Solstice, the day our world will begin to gradually tilt toward sunlight, toward restoration.
December: Fairbanks, Alaska
In late December we wake each
morning to the moon, a pearl button
at the nape of winter’s ink-black gown.
Early each afternoon, sun brushes the
horizon, dusts the mountains with alpenglow,
spills lavender light into Tanana Valley.
Cloaked in darkness, we crave rest,
respite from the cold, the familiar voices
of friends and family, their quiet company.
Solstice arrives, the sun stands still,
hesitates, as day slowly lifts her
dark hem, turns toward light.
One year folds into another.
We savor all the reasons we are grateful,
whisper thank you for every gift.