Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fall Breezes, Books, Temporary Set-backs

Fall is coming. Oh, I know there will be the hot days of Indian summer, but tonight I sat on the porch with a book and enjoyed a marvelous breeze with cool tones to it. This afternoon we had rain--fairly heavy even if it didn't last long. At first it stirred up a breeze and turned the air cool, but after the rain passed, it was awfully hot and steamy. But tonight that breeze was back. And it blew away the no-see-'ums, not as longlasting a bite as mosquitoes (nor with the threat of West Nile virus) but they are annoying. The cicadas have been louder than I've heard them before the last couple of nights. It seems every cicada in Texas is in the big old elm tree in front of my house. They swell in a great rousing chorus that makes you think maybe it's their version of the Hallelujah Chorus. Then with the pacing of good music, the sound drops to almost nothing and there is near silence. In a minute, there comes that chorus again. I know cicadas are supposed to presage hot days, but the temperature is predicted to be a relatively mild 91 tomorrow--after 100, 91 is a gift. I don't have as many birds these days--I let the bird feeder stay empty for a week (a mistake) and maybe it's taking them a while to rediscover it. There are a few, but not the flocks I had.
My neighbor was out pulling up her garbage carts, and I got her copy of Texas Monthly that I'd borrowed to read an in-depth article about the King Ranch and one not so deep about novelist Sandra Brown. I offered her Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel and at first she said no, it would just depress her. I said if I found it inspiring, she was bound to. After all, I'm the one who still hasn't read The Kite Runner, because I don't want to be depressed--everyone else says it's a wonderful novel. So I got to pondering that--maybe I can read about such things in nonfiction because I know the outcome, I know that Ali is safely in Holland, a member ofParliament, and an outspoken activist. A novel, almost by definition, keeps you in the dark of the outcome, drawing you along. Sometimes I think my imagination is too active, so that I put myself too much into what I'm reading. Can't read Stephen King and things like that, and I even hesitate to read Mary Higgins Clark if I'm home alone--her stuff is scary.
So what was I reading tonight? Harlan Coben's new novel, The Woods. It's almost pure plot, no character development, a true beach read, but I confess I'm hooked on it and as soon as I finish this post I'm going back to it. The difference between good reading and things that capture me is a problem I think about a lot, but I don't have an answer--except that maybe I'm an escapist.
After my various unpleasant health problems, I'm feeling much better. But I think you have to work hard not to consider yourself frail or still weak or something. Maybe what I mean is not to baby yourself--and I'm still doing a bit of that. But I remember what my brother cautioned a day or two ago: Treat your body with respect.

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