I am currently in a bit of a funk.
Madeleine L'Engle has died.
I remember picking up A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door and losing large chunks of my days as I devoured them. It was summertime when I discovered them - I remember sitting on a chair in my mother's office, reading while she did her work. I had to have been... ten? Twelve? I couldn't have been much older than that, or I'd have been allowed to stay home by myself.
My father worked nights so he'd be home when I got out of school. He was home all day during the summer. But some days, he'd be gone before we woke up, off to drive the trains for overtime pay. I'd pack a pile of books and make sandwiches for my mother and I, and go into the office with her. I spent my day reading or helping her with some of her duties - faxing, filing, photocopying. There was this old typewriter at one of the desks, mostly used for invoices that needed carbon copies, but no one ever really needed it.
When I started reading A Swiftly Tilting Planet, I spent an afternoon on that thing memorizing Patrick's Rune and banging it out on the keys. I think fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace Murry might have been the first character from a book I had a crush on. (I'd say he was my first crush on a fictional character, but I'm pretty sure I had a thing for Green Lantern when I was a wee lass watching Superfriends. Shut up.)
Somehow, other books came along and pushed Madeleine L'Engle off my radar - I read Arms of the Starfish some time later, and then no more of her books for at least a decade.
Only a year or two ago did I learn there was a fourth book in the Time Quartet. I know, I should hang my head in shame. I was afraid that something would have changed from when I'd first read her books, way back in elementary school, that now that I was somewhere in my mid-twenties, I'd find the books childish, that some or all of the magic would be gone. I opened the pages of Many Waters with a mix of excitement and trepidation, not wanting a fond memory to be tarnished.
Turns out, I had nothing to fear. The twins Sandy and Dennys transported me along with them to the days before the Great Flood. I was just as enraptured by her words at twenty-seven as I was at ten.
I realize, too, that I have yet to read the last book (as far as I know) of the series, An Acceptable Time. It was rereleased earlier this year, and I'll be picking it up this weekend. Actually, I'm fairly certain I gave away my copies of the whole series a long time ago, so I'll likely be buying several of her books.
Farewell, Mrs. L'Engle. And thank you.