This time of year, melancholy creeps in all too easily. Summer verdure has frosted over to monochrome. Trees raise bare, imploring limbs to a troubled sky. Darkness falls early. But those wind-stripped treetops reveal leaf-shag spheres sheltering families of squirrels and, down in the tangles of dead grass, little dugouts among tree roots, under stone walls and foundations signal burrows for all the ground-dwelling fur folk.
A pair of doves nestle under the eaves, their twig bedding somehow miraculously sufficient. The hanging basket outside my door, its million-bells petunia long gone, has become a de facto home improvement store for the sparrows and chickadees; every morning they dive-bomb it and flit off with fat beakfuls of cocofiber liner. The instinct to nest runs strong in all of us these days.
Thanksgiving travel may not be possible now, but we can find comfort, find home, right where we are. After a shivering journey through cold and dark, is there a more welcome sight than the squares of cheery yellow lamp glow spilling from your own windows? It’s one of those everyday blessings not to be taken for granted: a roof, a wall, a door between us and the elements, and inside, warmth and light. While we can’t be together and celebrate in the ways we like best this year, we still have the means of recognizing and sharing the simple joys within our power.
Tricia and the other members of Morristown Arts and Cultural Council are planning spirit-lifting displays in their Glitter, Shiny and Bright: Let There Be Light FOL decoration plans. While we at the library will miss being part of the customary annual carnival of cold-weather festivities — and the Festival of Lights partnership of our Teen Advisory Board and Friends of Morristown Centennial Library — there are still ways to safely bring a little cheer to our landscape.
To that end, while supplies last, during the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 we will offer Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Town tea light paper village kits for individuals and families craving some crafty fun. The kits will include assorted cardstock 3-D cottage cutouts, a few tea lights, decorations, and for those who need them, markers and a glue stick (include this in your request; one set per household, while supplies last). To request a kit, during that week email us at email@example.com or call us during staffed hours at 888-3853; we will put them on the curbside cart.
Curbside will again be our primary means of serving our patrons for the time being. Because of the recent surge in local COVID-19 cases, we have made the difficult decision to close the library building for in-person visits until further notice. Our virtual library programs and curbside services, including telephone and email assistance, will continue following our Tuesday-Saturday schedule.
You can place materials orders by emailing or calling, and those wanting a library card can still apply by the same method. For details, see our website post at centenniallibrary.org; the schedule is also posted on our main entrance door.
Parents, if your young ones are needing some interaction, Miss Rachel and Miss Cari are offering their Facebook Live Story Times every Tuesday morning at 10:30. Upcoming themes are Farms (this is Agricultural Literacy Week); Thanksgiving; Houses and Homes, Bundle Up! and Owls.
Teens, the next Anime and Manga Club will be held Dec. 10 and the second Thursday of each month at 3 p.m., via Zoom. Take part in activities based on our favorite anime and manga series. Middle Earth Madness will be Thursday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m. Test your knowledge of all things Tolkien and Middle Earth and try to stump our hosts in a round of Jeopardy! led on Zoom by good friends of the library, Oscar and Patrick Spencer. Contact Rachel for further information.
Adults, thanks for keeping our monthly The Plot Thickens one-sentence summary prize drawing going all fall. J.B. won October’s $25 gift card to The Green Dragon. On Dec. 1, we’ll be choosing the winning entry for November’s $25 card to El Toro, so submit your entries by sending us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, contact info, the title, author and a one-sentence summary of a recently-read book, or write the same on a piece of paper and either mail it to us at PO Box 727, or drop it through our drop box (make sure to title it “The Plot Thickens” and to write each entry separately).
In other good news, thanks to a partnership between the Vermont Department of Public Service and the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Morristown Centennial Library was one of the sites granted a wifi hotspot upgrade, which has expanded our range.
As library staff prepares for winter and compiles end-of-year statistics for annual reports, we feel fresh appreciation for our ongoing relationship with our community, even amid these crisis conditions. Some of you have already donated to the trustee fundraiser — thank you so much for sustaining us during this time — and our numbers indicate that we remain a go-to resource for at-home reading, watching and listening marathons. It is our pleasure to help you pass the time pleasantly while you shelter in place.
Even from a distance, we can still help one another. We have weathered a number of storms together in the past year, haven’t we? But we are resilient, we are creative, we are stronger than all the negatives, and despite all of the drama of 2020, we still have ample cause for thanksgiving.
Gizelle Guyette is director of Morristown Centennial Library.