The Joys of Reading Outside

Josie Leavitt -- April 5th, 2010

Today’s post is, quite simply, an ode to the loveliness of being able to read out of doors. It is not normally 80 degrees in April in Vermont during Easter weekend. This glorious gift of sun caused celebrations of many book lovers, young and old.

I had Saturday off, and amid the rapid-fire errand running, I stopped and noticed that City Hall Park was full of people, doing nothing but reading. Sitting on the steps to Town Hall, stretched out on the grass, young families on blankets, everyone was either reading or being read to. Young children sat next to their parents as they were read to. Bright eyes glinting in the sun eagerly listening to stories of pirates and in several cases, the Easter bunny.

Vermonters are a hardy bunch, of that there can be no dispute. But we’re also not foolish about the sun. Gifts of warm early spring weekends do not get lost on us. We go out and when we’re tired of cleaning the yard, we read under a tree, on a deck, at a bus stop, anywhere we can feel the sun we can be found with a book in our hands. There is a bus stop right at the front of the store, and I noticed that one person was reading when I left to do errands, and she was still there, an hour and a half later, when I returned. I know our bus system is slow, but it’s not that slow, I can only surmise she opted for staying right where she was, comfy on a wide perch, fully engrossed in her book.

I take a class at the University of Vermont and I saw the students enjoy the sun.  For every Frisbee-playing young man, and occasional woman, there were ten times as many students just sitting around reading. Yes, most of them were probably reading for classes, but I suspect that every book read on the lawn while feeling the warmth of the sun is more pleasurable than in the library.

There is a freedom that comes with being able to read outside after a long winter. It is quite simply the hope that warmer weather has finally arrived and I am filled with a simple joy: a book, a chair and a glass of water, my dogs cavorting in the yard, and  I’m almost as happy as I can get.

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