On Reading

The sun warms my shoulders as I enter another world. With the smell of plum blossom and mown grass in my nostrils, I stand beside a gangly youth at a nineteenth century whaling station in the Sounds, where the stench of blood and death fill the air. He feels the flensors' blows on the carcasses as if on his own body. I feel them too. He is an outcast among these hard men, but the heft of the book in my hand anchors me to his story. Can he bear his solitude without hurting the girl who trusts him? My heart goes out to their rawness, the dance between them of fear and joy. A spider crawls along my arm and I look up at con trails in the blue sky, while the youth drinks whisky on the beach, a small circle of firelight keeping kehua at bay. A morepork calls and he shivers at its ill omen. I shiver as I turn the page, feeling the texture of paper and the grit of sand as the author and I create this world, enriched by words from long-dead souls.

I am lost in a good book.