In Praise of Paper

I have fully embraced the digital age as much as anyone. I have a smart phone, I'm on Facebook and Twitter, I write a blog, I sit in front of a computer for hours each day, and I'm nearly always online. I don't know where print journalism is going to end up in the future, but I have to admit, I like having a book or a magazine in my hands. Admittedly, I do 95% of my reading online nowadays, but there is still something very special about the feel of paper in your hands.

I get several astronomy magazines, but one of my favorite guilty pleasures in life is the time I spend every other month with the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. It is so well done it is worth the price of BAA membership just to get this journal. It is to the JBAA I dedicate this poem.

In Praise of Paper

And there it is again
Arriving in its neat cellophane wrapper
Like a gift under the tree on Christmas morn
A flashy color picture on the cover
hinting at the ecstasy within

It seems like forever since the last time
So I eagerly peel off the wrapper
And set it in the place of honor
Top of the reading pile
Next to the seat of knowledge

When the time is nigh
I carefully peel open the cover
And savoring the contents within
Devour page after page
Losing myself and all track of time

Suddenly a familiar tingling
Like pins and needles
Creeps up my legs from my feet
I realize I have forgotten
the other purpose here, long ago

“No, no”, I cry
Realizing I have yet unread pages
Then, carefully marking my place for the next time
I set about my day
Contemplating the things I have digested

Stellar birth and destruction
Planets spinning round
Galaxies in turmoil
Hot gases, fierce winds
Primordial soup…oh my!

Once again reunited
This daily routine is a part of me
It’s biological
It has texture and smell
I love the feel of it

Some things will never change
The digital age can’t replace this!
It’s part of the daily ritual
Don’t leave me here wanting
I must have paper!

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