Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another day on the ocean

I work in a library system. It is not tiny nor is it huge. And the library I work at is a big one, but not so big that I don't have a reasonable acquaintance with all its many corners and personalities. And what I and many others do here is important. We make the library go.

But there is not one of us, in all my glorious library system, who cannot disappear for a day or a week or a month or a year, and have it affect nothing. I may like a co-worker, or dislike them, approve or disapprove, be sad that they're gone, or relieved, but let them leave and it never takes more than five minutes for the waters of normality to level off. The great sea of the library may have its tides that rise and fall with the seasons, with events, and with the workings of the moon, but though an individual falling into that sea may thrash a bit going down, they are nevertheless swallowed up without a trace.

A manager here has been gone for an extended period of time. Our library director will soon be off to a new job, leaving her spot vacant for months. The vacations of my co-workers will come and go all summer. And yet through it all the library will and does remain unperturbed. It soldiers on to its own hidden music. Indeed it does not even seem to notice. I will be gone from the library for five weeks later this year, and I assure you I am no exception. The library won't even blink. The number of books checked out will not alter a whit. My co-workers and a patron or two may have a few passing thoughts of me, but the library without me will become instantly normal, and will remain as it ever was.

And then when I return, that will be normal as well.

Somehow I find this calming more than upsetting. The burden is off our shoulders. Let the library carry on.

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