Sunday, August 14, 2011

Obsessed with Books

That's me.  I have one in hand to read at home and one on pause in the car for the drive to work.  Heaven forbid they are similar.  Then I am mightily confused for a few minutes until the plot moves to the surface of my brain and I am fully engaged.  While I prefer reading words on paper, shifting the book slightly as I turn to the next page, there are times when a really good narrator can leave me breathless with suspense. 

I am not sure how I feel about technology offering a different, less tactile way to peruse words.  I can see the benefits of eReaders on a long plane trip.  It is compact and can hold a plethora of books.  I assess my stash when I travel, shelving heavy tomes in favor of several thinner ones which can slip in my bag.  As one is finished, it is left at the airport or on a train for another person to pick up.  That is part of the pleasure of books.

Just as I prefer not to 'smarten up' my phone, I am resistant to embrace yet another generation of computer-driven machines which move me away from my page turners and have me staring at an impersonal screen.  Sitting at a computer most of the workday, exploring the web occasionally at night is enough for me.  Not saying I might not give it a whirl someday when faced with an eight hour flight - I am just saying...

I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  It was riveting.  I took Friday off to work in the garden - such clear blue, fantastically bright summer days are a treasure and I don't waste one of them.  In between battles with tenacious weeds, I sat in the shade with a glass of Lady Gray iced tea and read.  I started it on Friday and finished it Sunday afternoon.  It was hard to put down.  You must give it a read.  It has made me more than ever aware of my blinders.  Sometimes I can be so unaware.  I want to know more - I want to learn about other cultures, other lives.

I applaud friendships which develop between unlikely partners.  I am saddened by the reserve I observe in those who prefer to limit their involvement - sometimes for the whole of their lives.  I abhor the injustice that man heaps upon man in the name of righteousness (and I don't mean the religious kind).  Our relationships are complex and are the result of the effort we put into them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meadow Pond

The last few strokes of paint feel like a symphony's final notes.  Cymbals crash and the notes rise to a crescendo until they fade away and you are left with their sweet tone vibrating in your mind's deepest recesses. 

This painting started out very differently.  Aiming for a spare and serene vista, it evolved over time into a remembered pond from my childhood - at least a fictionalized version of it since it is no longer there except in my mind's eye.

I spend summer hours floating on a makeshift raft someone had made and tied to a branch pounded into the soft earth on the edge of a nearby pond.  This usually involved getting my toes squishy with mud and pulling off the occasional leach, but I was young and I really wanted to float on that raft.  It was in a field not far from our house.  Not big but ample in size for a short float with a good book.

In this version, I can hear the laughter of children splashing and frogs heading for cover in the reeds to observe the activity from a distance.  A path worn by animals or humans - perhaps both - winds its way along the shore, grass closely cropped by the many footfalls.  The clear vibrant day, like so many I have known, welcomes all comers to linger at its shores.