The Bench and the Book

Yesterday, I came across a bench sitting on a patch of green, dropped into the leftover space at an intersection where three small roads crossed. The long, also-green slabs of wood would have made for a nice rest all on their own, but there, lying unsupervised on the side, was a novel, just waiting to be read.

I’d love to tell you I just sat down and read the whole thing in three hours, but life had other plans for me. I did reflect, however, on the fact that a world where things like this still exist can’t be so bad.

The bench and the book. It was an open invitation, and everyone who passed by understood its terms. No one rushed past me to grab the free book and run. No one lay there and just took a nap. Life said, “Here’s a book and a bench. Please sit and read, or be on your way in peace,” and people honored the deal.

The best part, however, is that the magic still works even if you don’t take up the offer. “That sounds lovely, but now that I think about it, I’m actually already pretty relaxed and rested. Thanks for the reminder!” Perhaps, if there were more books sitting on more benches, the world would altogether be a more harmonious place.

You might not find a magical recovery station today, but remember: Rest is always available. Slowing down is a card you can play any time, and whether you ultimately choose to or not, it’s usually a far better joker than any of its alternatives.