I’ve borrowed a chapter title from The Spiritkeeper to remind myself that steps toward normalcy aren’t leaps but crawls. It’s hard remember that boxes don’t unpack themselves all at once; that puzzles get put together only when all the pieces are at hand.

Books are normalcy. Books are steadiness and stability. When one unpacks the first boxes of books into the only bookcase that has made it down to the house, so far (even if they’re not necessarily the favorites among the hundreds) can anything be bad?

One or two things can, yes. The bookcase that I dropped on my foot (no photos, here: The sight of a stiff and blackening big toe is enough to make anybody toss her cookies.) The massive amount of things that remain to be done in two weeks. Finding the time to finish a very emotional chapter amidst the demands of job search and moving logistics. Not good. But then, not terrible.

I did manage to find time to write a bit as I sat locked in the bedroom, keeping the helpful cats away from the carpet guys, and myself away from the unsettling sight of even more disruption. Furniture is back in place, mostly—some of it even got dusted.

Much to do today, tomorrow, the day after, the day after that. The tasks get smaller and fussier as progress is made. Boxes give way to other, smaller boxes. A few square feet of vacant floorspace appear. Organization throws up more craziness around itself, the flotsam of what-do-I-do-with-that?, to be collected up into smaller boxes of less important, more annoying stuff.

But, as I said: one corner with books in it? The smell of new carpet (not all that nice, considering)? A puddle of sunlight and a handy chair for a kitty to sleep in? These are my reminders that calm and order are out there. Somewhere.

Where there are books, what can be bad?

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