The morns are meeker than they were –
The nuts are getting brown –
The berry’s cheek is plumper –
The Rose is out of town.
The Maple wears a gayer scarf –
The field a scarlet gown –
Lest I should be old fashioned
I’ll put a trinket on.
~ Emily Dickinson
Every day, countless books are designed and laid out. Someone slaps a photo on the cover, they’re printed, bound and stuck on a shelf.
But some books are lovingly type set and crafted by hands that value not only the words inside, but also the very art of making a book.
Today, for the very first time, I held in my hands a book published by the Folio Society. The Folio Society, founded in London in 1947, exists not merely to keep fine literature alive, but to print beautiful copies of these books that will be treasured for a lifetime and inherited by loved ones.
This particular book was given to me by my neighbour – who knows me well – for my twentieth birthday. Titled, Autumn: A Folio Anthology, the cover displays a gorgeous design of orange, purple and gold oak leaves. The book was bound in Italy, and it smells like sharp, clean paper.
My birthday just so happens to land in autumn, my favourite season. I love that even though fall returns each year with unvarying consistency, it still does not fail to draw forth passionate verses from the lords of prose, both past and present. This unceasing awe at a reoccurring thing is a gift I hope humanity never loses.
But unfortunately, I did not enter this world during the rich hues of September or the blue skies of October. I came during November, a month that looks more like the dejected preamble to winter. Thus, I don’t really associate my birthday with autumn.
And yet, this book felt like a magnificent reminder that I still share this season, and that I can boast in all its former flaming glory. In fact, now that the reality has faded outside my window, the book has even greater value, because it allows me to recreate a beauty that has disappeared.
More than that, the thought and care that went into its creation is a rare thing in our fast-paced, consumer-driven world. It is heartening to see people who still recognize the potential for beauty in everything – even when there seems to be no logic. You can buy an e-book for a fraction of the cost. But there is little sense of value in it. Yet when I unwrapped this book, I knew that it had already been cherished, long before it was ever opened.
Therein lies the precious element that defeats all logic.
~ Ilana Reimer