By Their Cover

Feb 17, 12 • Family Stuff, LifeNo Comments

There is something visually lovely about old books. The art of the exterior draws my attention to them even more quickly than that of their content. When I peruse the shelves of books at estate sales, the more rare books have already been discovered and pulled or priced beyond my budget. But on occasion, I find rather tattered books, of no great value besides their literary content, but of great value to me by their cover. I know…that’s a switch from the norm. But I find my well-worn, literary collections simply sublime because they have survived.


by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Who can say

Why To-day

To-morrow will be yesterday?

 Who can tell

Why to smell

The violet, recalls the dewey prime

Of youth and buried time?

 The cause is nowhere found in rhyme.

I must admit that I am also smitten with modern technology. The information that I have available at my fingertips is quite amazing.  If I know what I am looking for, or even have an inkling…a thought…a partial phrase of a poem, I have but to make the suggestion to my search, and like magic there appears a whole list of possible answers to my query.  It may require a little digging, but with patience I am sure to find buried treasure. 

There comes to mind that old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” What does that mean exactly? Is it that we can’t or more that we shouldn’t? It’s easy to make snap judgements about the way a person looks from the outside to quickly determine whether they are of any value. But what small treasure might we miss by so doing?

People are much like books, all with a story to tell.  Beauty on the outside does not speak to the content within.  Many in the world are consumed with youth and perfection of the exterior.  They are obsessed with “fixing” what they don’t like about their appearance and making “perfect” what their genetics were unable to accomplish. If a book-maker spent too much time developing how the cover looks and bypassed the content, what was actually to be written on the pages, the book would never become a best-seller.

These old books of mine, though tattered and worn, are a treasure to me, as are the well-worn friends in my life.  The chiseled lines on their faces and their faltering steps all are part of the story they have to tell…it is up to me to seek the treasures of life that they have to share.


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