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Packhorse Librarians - Entry #3

“I've tried in this telling, time and time again, to pinpoint the moment where everything starts to fall apart. Everything, meaning me. But there's also the opposite, where some little nut cracks open inside you and a tree starts to grow. Even harder to nail. Because that thing's going to be growing a long time before you notice. Years maybe. then one day you say, Huh, that little crack between my ears has turned into this whole damn tree of wonderful. - Demon Copperhead

This painted scene is of a mounted librarian bringing literature on childbirth and parenting to a young woman expecting her first child (a photo referenced from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives). I imagine not just the poverty of basic needs but the poverty of knowledge that the librarians attempted to remedy. This particular image struck me as such a gentle act of kindness capable of making a great impact that would be impossible to predict at the time. We never know what the tiniest crack of light is capable of growing. The people of Appalachia, despite their crippling poverty, were proud and found it difficult to accept a handout like a book (even if it was on loan and not a handout at all) so they would insist on exchanging something in return such as a recipe or a quilting pattern. So perhaps, this painting is reflecting that end of the exchange, a moment of gratitude.

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