I discovered the college library today.
It's always been there of course- tucked away on one side of one of the many broad pillared corridors that look out onto the grass and the wind and the hot sun.
But I've only ever seen it from the outside, looking in through unfriendly doors at the must and the dampness and the bare wooden tables and harsh tubelights.
But I went inside for the first time today- not to browse through bookshelves but to use the internet.
And it's really quite beautiful if you take the time to notice it properly.
The furniture is uncompromising solid wood- but the wood is smooth and cold and dark and you can feel the students it has held over the years, all looking alike with dark heads, bowed together over old books, thinking thoughts that are both similar and unique.
The bookshelves are lined up in straight rows and if you wander in between them, you'll probably sneeze. They hold, like all bookshelves should, the musty smell of books that have been well thumbed.
And my god- the books! I only browsed through the history section and it held volumes and volumes about dysfunctional royalty and bloody wars and great, wise movements and great, wise people and ordinary people who woke up and decided to change the world.
And I thought of visiting the library when I had nothing to do and I imagined wandering over to one of the shelves, upstairs and downstairs, and breathing in that curious smell and choosing one of the leather bound books and ambling over to one of the long, broad wooden tables and sitting there, away from noise and away from sun. And I felt curiously happy.
The quiet, satisfied sort of happiness that you feel when you put forward a tiny soul root into new land.