The Age of Reading

I love the ecological turn of mind. And in the recapitulation the earthworms are left behind. And in so being taken on an aura of their own.

A nonmaterial definition of the book comes hand in hand, it seems to me, with a nonmaterial definition of reading. In the widest sense, I think the term simply means paying attention to what’s in front of you and trying to make sense of it. Fish do this as they swim through the water. Birds do it as they fly through the air or sit in the trees or on lamp posts waiting for breakfast. Earthworms do it as they poke through the sod, and I do it, not only in the library but also when I’m listening to those birds or looking at the water and thinking about those fish. This foundational kind of reading is much older than the oldest protoliterate inscriptions, older than human language, older than the first, nameless primates, climbing around in the trees of northern Africa some sixty million years ago.

from Robert Bringhurst What is Reading for? (RIT Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2011)

And so the earthworms continue to produce casings just as they did eons before I or any of my ancestors learned to read. But we are relatives, “Earthworms … and I…” and it is a profound type of kinship.

And so for day 1002

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