Nils Peterson: Talk in the Reading Room
About Nils Peterson


The Reading Room
 Xmas Eve at the Big House 
 Christmas Mysteries 
Summers in Long Island 
 Father Arrives in the    Triumphal Car 
 Yankee Stadium Gone 
 A Thing of Beauty 
 Learning From My Father 
 Learning From My Mother 
The Bus


 Next Stop 
 Going to College
 My Lecture on Romanticism 
 A Story 
 Go Way From My Window 
• Singing in the Rain 
 On the Nature of Exposition 
 A Latin Class
 A Hero's Life
 Letter to Paul Cantrell
• Homecoming 
 The Moon and the Bulldozer


The Reading Room

The Reading Room had at its center an enormous globe that showed the way the world was. It turned as easily about its spindle as the world itself and I spun it slowly with my long thin fingers, exploring place after place, each country with a color defining its “I amness.” How much blue the sea took to get its proper share.

Sometimes I would sit in the room and read my books for awhile before roller skating home on the streets that had the smoothest sidewalks so the wheels clamped to my shoes with a key would not catch on a tree- root-propped slab, tear loose, and send me tumbling to another scraped knee. Sometimes I’d finish my book and return it before setting off from the friendly silence.

The room was high-ceilinged, tall-windowed, square, with a square of leather-cushioned chairs surrounding the globe. This is how I want to live, I felt rather than said, in a solid, permanent, somewhat dustily elegant place, with the round certainty of the way things are before me.

More than sixty years later, only the blue of the sea has stayed itself. Now the old globe with its intricate pattern of forgotten countries rests, a curiosity, in the back room of the antique shop of world history. Maybe the library still stands, but most of the books I read have long since disintegrated or disappeared.

The boy who sat there reading whispers to me sometimes. He tries to tell me what was. I listen, nod, but cannot tell him what will be.


young Nils

Nils Peterson, age 9

  © 2014, Nils Peterson

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