Friday, July 30, 2021

Heading to 36°

Sheba did not want to walk yesterday. She’d only get up to pee. She was in pain, and it hurt to see her feeling so poorly. Plus, it was just far too hot for both of us (32°). I spent the day watering—in fact, soaking—the gardens and reading a book I’m really enjoying called Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey.

I won’t leave her right now. I stay home and inside all day with her. I keep socks on her two front paws, and I help her up and off the bed. I’m dying to do fun things with her. This is the weather we wait for all Winter. I want to go for picnics with her. I want to evening picnic with her at Drumbeg. But right now, I do as little as possible, and I constantly monitor her. She’s showing signs of going for a rear foot next.

I’m reacting as a parent of a child might: Did I do something wrong? How can I help her? What if the doctor wants to put her on mood-altering drugs? Who will she be? Can I do that?

I remain optimistic. The vet helps me as much as he helps Shebie. He helps me believe in picnics.

I’d go mad were it not for reading. 

Once, all my friends knew that I read non-fiction exclusively. Great non-fiction books (and I think my favourite writer was Simon Winchester) was heroin. I believed my passion for N-F was a pendulum swing away from my years-long studies in English Lit. Then, maybe ten or twelve years ago, it was back to fiction, but this time my passion has focused on contemporary N-F.

Books that truly fulfill me seem to do so my means of their style. It’s how they tell the story where I find the art. So, when great style meets great story, I’m shooting up several times a day or all day long.

I just finished a book called Cold Mountain. Great story; not particularly stylish. It’s very straight-forward in voice, but there’s a rich use of Western idiom and it’s a story sensually set that’s richly described. I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoyed the Hardy Boys as a teenager—as a comfortable Summer read.

And one of my favourite books of all time is Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stigner. I read it long ago; it was a major life event for me. Now, I can’t remember why but I won’t give away my copy and I intend to read it again.

Both Cold Mountain and Angle of Repose are set in the American west. Normally, the words, “American west,” make me immediately take a pass. Learned something from that!

And now I have my living space defined by my needs rather what works for guests. I call it my Covid design. I have my chaise longue parallel to, and right up against the front window. I get great light, I can wave at passers-by on the street, and I see all my living space but for my office, so reading there very comfortably lets me monitor Sheba all day and have a pretty good time. It’s not a time to be outdoors anyway.

I can hardly wait for Wednesday when it may rain. God, I hope it does! I doubt it will.

Today we’ve been warned that temperatures could reach 36°! I’ll be inside again, reading and supervising Her Highness. The chimneysweep comes this morning and then, this evening, Jay and I are taking a picnic to Drumbeg so that we can enjoy the evening by the sea and the cooling breeze it brings us.  

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