They (the ubiquitous they) say that experience is the best teacher. Is there any other way to be taught? It is also the best bringer of wisdom…and joy.
I had two experiences in the last 24 hours. They taught me many things and brought me, yes, joy.
Money bought one of them for me; time bought me the other. We can buy things with our money, or we can buy experiences with our money (best use of money), or……we can buy things that enable a myriad of experiences.
The one that time bought:
Today I experienced something I had never before experienced—a bookstore with an escalator. A very small and narrow and cute escalator. It escalated me to the top section of the store, where children’s books and the latest titles for adults co-existed peacefully on the same floor.
I asked the nice woman at the desk about Nooks. She said, with deer in headlight eyes, she was the children’s books expert, and knew nothing about said contraption. That the Nook expert was on the first floor. His name was Jeff. Indeed he was—on the first floor, named Jeff, and a Nookish expert.
I need a Nook that does not panic and crack its screen at the first sighting of a GRIZZLY BEAR. It became unreadable the third day on the trail last summer in Glacier National Park, and I had to settle for being alone with my own thoughts in the dark night in the midst of brown bear country. I asked Jeff to prevent this occurrence. Jeff did not know for sure if he had such a resilient Nook, nor could we think of a way to test this particular resilience on the streets of Kansas City. I settled for believing that a hard case (for the Nook) might suffice. Of course, there is only one way to find out for sure.
I also noticed, as part of this same experience, that a distinctive calming influence comes over me when I am in a bookstore thumbing through the titles, reading snatches of thought. Just being with new ideas—what a peaceful joy it brings me. How empowered I feel with new world upon new world begging to be explored, standing at attention on shelf after shelf and calling out to me.
The experience that money bought:
The second experience I bought with money, or rather a kind person bought me for Christmas. A zero degree down sleeping bag. Good to zero Fahrenheit. Weighing 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Amazingly light. Shiny black. Top tech gear. 900 fill goose down. Quantum Pertex shell. This is gear that can only be appreciated by those who have been out of doors and have frozen nigh to death when the temps dipped at night below the capacity of the bag they were in, enduring hour after hour of numbing cold, longing for day to dawn, with the cold turning the minutes to hours (thanks Gordon Lightfoot for the language), as I have.
I have a lot to say about sleeping bags and gear in general….but suffice to say I daresay I was the only person in our neighborhood sleeping out behind their house last night, (on the side of a cliff, really) during our freezing night. Testing the bag. Before deciding that I would trust it on multi-day backpacks (for the next 10 years, which is how long my last bag lasted). The new bag performed well. It was a damp night given a lot of rain recently. So my bag got quite wet on the outside and the damp became a frozen coating of ice by morning. But I was cozy warm as can be all night. Just my nose a little cold.
This bag will enable many experiences, and travel to many places in the next decade. It will likely be mentioned in my will, so the kids don’t fight over it.
Still deciding on the Nook. Paper is so dependable and bear-proof.