I have always loved to read. Perhaps it is because of my ever so fond childhood memories of my grandmother reading to us just before bedtime. We would sit beside her, snuggled in close, helping her turn the colorful pages as she read to us. Madeline, Babar, and Curious George were our favorites.

I can still hear the sound of her soft voice. Over time, we grew to know the stories by heart, and I remember silently reciting the words that I knew would appear on the next page. If ever my recitation broke out into a whisper, she would smile and pretend that I was reading along with her.

There were never any surprises in this reading, just the comfort of our grandmother’s love, the sound of her voice and the rustling of the paper pages.

As I grew a bit older, my love of reading continued, and I would almost always fall asleep with a book by my side. If I read past my bedtime hour, I would reach for the flashlight I kept under my pillow, and pull the covers up over my head, and continue reading in my makeshift tent. I remember the special magic of my own world under the bed covers. I imagined that I was completely hidden from sight, so that when my parents checked on me before they went to bed, they would only see the snuggled lump of their daughter in the darkness and be none the wiser.

I am now quite sure that they must have known what I was up to and maybe even smiled their tacit approval, having gotten me the flashlight for my birthday.

Some of my very favorite early reading was the comic books for which I carefully saved my hard-earned allowance, an allowance that I actually earned doing what I thought were monumental chores. Washing the tenants’ bathrooms on the upper floors of our rooming house was the most monumental chore of all, and if the bathrooms were not washed to perfection, my parents would have me do the task again.

Only with inspection passed, and allowance in hand, would I run down to the First Avenue Five and Dime, where I would stand in front of the comic book rack, searching for that week’s perfect choice. My perusal process was often time consuming, and one day I remember the proprietor coming up to me and telling me that his store was not a library, and I that needed to make my selection and head back home.

Even as a child, I realized that my parents allowed me to read comic books, not so much because of the fanciful fiction, but because my father knew that he would be able to enjoy reading through their colorful pages once I was done. The superheroes were our favorites.

With age, I grew to recognize that my reading perspective was changing. Where I once found well-being in knowing exactly what would happen on the coming pages, the older I got, the more intrigued I became by not knowing what lay in store. Still, I found comfort in letting my eye travel the page, letting my fingers turn the pages over, and letting myself become lost in some other world, be it based in fantasy or fact.

And then, when Greg and I moved to the farm, I found myself eagerly reading every magazine or book that I could find on foraging, gardening, herbs, wild flowers, birds, and living off the grid. Many of these books, or essays, were written years, even decades, before, and in all of them, I found that I had so very much to learn.

Now, with the passing of these most recent years, my perspective has once again changed. Many of my favorite book stores have closed their doors and gone out of business. I sadly realized that I quite likely contributed to their demise. When I reach to find out the name of a wildflower I have not seen before, I turn to an app on my smart phone, not my well-worn pocket identification book.

Just yesterday, I noticed a beautiful purple flower that I did not recognize, growing by the side of the creek valley road. With a click of my finger I learned that it is bird vetch, and soon, perhaps as I prepare dinner tonight, I will cruise the internet and learn more.

Without a doubt, the internet can be wonderful thing. I really have come to appreciate its easy access to knowledge, but still, my love of books, of all sorts, remains. There is always a paperback or a hardcover book sitting on my bedside table, waiting to carry me off to some unknown place, where I have no idea what to expect when I turn the page.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.