The Strand Bookstore, New York, New York
Bookstores are places where my heart can breathe. My feet tread quietly between their aisles. My eyes come into focus, scanning each title. A library unfolds in my brain, and it is quiet. You know that feeling?
Some bookstores do this better than others, and The Strand, where I took this photo yesterday, while visiting NYC for a whirlwind 23.5-hours, is among the best. Perhaps because it’s huge, boasting “18-miles of books,” or deals in titles of all kinds, including the rare, used, and signature-smelling ones. It could also be the contrast of a spacious, quiet place in the midst of a chaotic, concrete, jungle. Or, maybe, it’s the fact that this bookstore is located between two of the city’s most treasured yoga studios, Om Yoga and Jivamukti. The studios emit high levels of meditation mojo, which collects and settles at the Strand. Hey, it’s possible.
With so many books from which to choose and a colossally overstuffed overnight bag (overpacked again: shocker), I had to make smart purchasing choices. Nothing big. Nothing heavy. Nothing ho-hum. I wanted something special, so I opted for a little book of spiritual aphorisms recommended to me by om gal and Olympian Kim Vandenberg. She found her copy by happenstance in a tiny shop in Europe, and travels with it for inspiration wherever she competes.
Here’s line 1:
Everything today has a point, but the art of making yourself count for something the greatest: more is demanded to produce one wise man today, than seven formerly; and more is needed to deal with a single individual in our times, than with a whole people in the past.
-17th century writer Baltasar Gracian, “The Art of Worldly Wisdom”
Safe to say it was the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time . . .