Imagine an entire city block devoted to books. A place where kilted, mohawked, multiple-pierced punks browse quietly, side by side with slightly-hunched grandmothers, shaggy rpg enthusiasts, and bag ladies. A place with Jesus Action figures and nun-shaped lighters just 50 feet away from Virginia Woolf and Shakespeare. Down a flight of stairs and just around the corner stand rows and rows for railroad enthusiasts. Climb up three flights to an art gallery and rare book room. Cross through spaces devoted to classic literature, reference materials, religious studies, philosophy, education, the martial arts, cookbooks, quilting . . . And everywhere you go, there are people sitting, pacing, staring off into the distance, lounging on the floor with a book or a pile. It’s like a microcosm of the world, like what you might find at an airport or a train station. Except in this place, there’s less physical rush. These are travelers. But they leave their bodies behind as they zoom around the universe, back and forth in time, hitching rides as visitors in some hapless narrator’s brain.
And they come back changed — peaceful, thoughtful, calm — whispering quiet excuses as they step over others who are still traveling, recognizing somehow that this is a holy place, a temple to human wisdom and beauty and truth. A place for searching. For inspiration. A place of peace in the midst of a busy city.
And they always come back. To Powell’s.
And they come back changed