It is a gift

I was reading my book in bed the other night, as I do most nights, and it struck me what a gift it is to be able to read. The very act of viewing symbols and divining from that all manner of information. Look at one set of symbols and gain the knowledge of how to make a souffle, another set will completely cut off the present world and fill your head with visions of Gods re-enacting the Trojan War on Mars, another set will make you laugh.
This act of reading and disseminating information is actually pretty amazing when you think about it.
I remember the day I realized I could read. It was late afternoon, I was 4, in Head Start (I love Head Start, without it I would have been at such a disadvantage once school started. It’s a program beset with problems but for me it worked). I was in the car and we came to a stop and I looked at the stop sign and I read the word and I knew what it meant, not because it was on the stop sign, but because I knew the letters and I could make the sounds and the sounds made a word and my head was full of fireworks.
I’d broken the code. I looked around, saw another word, i could read it! and another! and another! all these words that I could look at and read and know what they said. It was amazing to me.
I knew that I had not been able to do this the day before. i was very aware of this and because of this revelation I spent years thinking that certain skills just turned on in your head at a certain age. Imagine my frustration in 3rd grade when I could not figure out division AND it seemed that skill would not turn on for me (and it seems it never will).
From that day on I read, not voraciously at first, I read my Dr Seuss or Little Golden Books, I read signs on the street, I read cereal boxes and TV guide and Pebto-Bismal bottles (slowly of course, I was only 4).
And today I read about geishas and space ships and haunted houses and personal problems and souffle recipes and political discourse and gossip and explosions and disasters and miracles and babies and busses and cookies and moons and hippos and islands and and and and
And every word feels like a gift.