Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just the thing

The past week at work has been crazy with holiday parties, cookies and fattening goodies everywhere you look, and coworkers bearing gifts for one another. In the midst of so many distractions I've been trying to get my desk cleaned up so that I can have a week's vacation without feeling too much anxiety about the state of affairs I will return to after New Year's. So far I haven't made very much progress, but I hope at least that my office phone won't be ringing off the hook the whole time I'm away from my desk.

The small group of people that I work directly with has a gift-giving routine of one sort or another each year. Some years we do a grab bag, but the last few years we've been doing a Secret Santa where each person draws a name and buys a gift for a particular person. This year each of us included a wish list to help with purchases and that seemed to make everyone happier about the gifts they received.

Some of us also exchange gifts more privately, and that's the point of what I want to write about tonight. I bought Julie Zickefoose's book, Letters from Eden, for two of my coworkers. For Anna, I thought it might be something of a stretch; a gift given more to reflect my interests and share some of the passion that I feel for nature. For Kathy, I knew it was just the thing. Or at least I had hoped so.

I'm really terrible at buying gifts for people and struggle to come up with ideas. But this gift, this book, is perfect for her and I knew it as I watched her flipping through the pages this morning when I gave it to her. She was admiring the artwork and kept returning to this page and the illustration of the bullfrog and hummingbird. That was sort of a surprise because I had expected to see her pouring over the turkey vulture drawings because she thinks of tv's as her totem, but no; it was this page and an opossum in another essay that caught her eye.

I wish that I knew more people that I could share this book with, it is just so beautiful. I say that without even having really allowed myself to read it yet. The artwork is so wonderful and lovingly drawn. It was just the thing my friend needed this day.

Thank you, Julie, for putting a smile on my friend's face.

13 comments:

Mary said...

Please treat yourself, Laura. Read the book (I'll send you my copy). It's the kind of book you can re-read and still leaves you feeling good. I was in Borders today and saw 6 of them laying flat on a table near the nature section. I stood one up facing out. Contrary to what you think, you ARE a good gift-giver :)

LauraHinNJ said...

Mary: lol! Of course I bought a copy for myself, but have been *saving* it for when I can read it and enjoy! So far I've just looked at the pics and read the first essay or two and it is wonderful.

MojoMan said...

I saw several copies of LFE in the B&N in Walpole, MA. just last night. I felt happy for Julie to see her books spread so far and wide. I bought a copy of her bluebird booklet in Berkeley, CA this summer. I was in B&N to buy a CD that BT3 recommended. What a family!

I, too, am reading Julie's book gradually, savoring it at special moments.

Susan Gets Native said...

Julie's book is a gift that keeps on giving.
My favorite essay is "Calling Kali".
Her passion and rage leaps out of the book, and you are right there with her as she destroys the trap.

John said...

Julie's book is quite attractive. One of the things I liked best about the illustrations is that she drew birds as birders see them - engaged in all sorts of activities and not just posing.

samtzmom said...

We had our Christmas last night and I gave both my mom and sister autographed copies. I was so thrilled to be able to share this book with them. I received mine months ago and have been s-l-o-w-l-y digesting it because I didn't want it to end, but alas, yesterday as I was waiting for Sam to get out of school, I read the very last page. It is simply one of the most beautiful books I've ever had the pleasure of absorbing, and now that I have given my copies I can finally blog about it!! It will now be at a place of honor on the coffee table books that stay in view at all times.

ruth said...

Looks like a wonderful book, and it is available in Canada too. I just added it to my Amazon.ca shopping cart.

NatureWoman said...

I think Julie's book is just the thing for anyone residing on this planet. Her illustrations are just so wonderful.

Liza Lee Miller said...

I bought a copy for myself this year (from the kids!) and I got a copy for my mother. Very cool -- I haven't even opened my own copy except to check that the inscription spelled my name right! :) It's been SO hard not to just peek!

Julie Zickefoose said...

ooooh, you know I love you all. Laura. Thank you. Having been the kind of child who saved gumballs until they were as hard as Corian, I totally get the fact that you haven't read the book yet.

Reading these comments is like Christmas morning for me. It's so exciting to think that there are copies of LFE lying under Christmas trees all over the country. Know that all I want to do in the world is another LFE. Or a book about Chet, a dog who is no more remarkable than anyone else's dog, but who has a personal fluffer and photographer and biographer who follows his every move. You guys have helped me figure out what I want to do when I grow up. And that is write things you would want to read. Thank you.

Sonia said...

"Letters From Eden" sounds a great book! Thanks for the idea.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Christmas and a Wonderful 2007!
Desejo a você e a sua família um Feliz Natal e Maravilhoso 2007!
Love, Peace and Health!
Amor, Paz e Saúde!
Sonia.

Lynne said...

Enjoy the book Laura! Mine is in the car. (yes, the car!) I seem to be always in the car, picking up, dropping off, waiting for practices to end, ... There I actually get little snips of time when I can pull out LFE, like a chat with a friend.

I wholeheartedly agree with John. I love that Julie's birds are actively being birds.

Cathy said...

I'm so glad to be introduced to Julie's work. I'm ordering this book for my mother and myself.