Mornings are heavy with dew. The air is saturated. Spider webs are irritating.
The day changes to humid heat, often reaching mid-to-high 90’s in the afternoon. Car interiors become like ovens. The steering wheel burns the hands.
Late afternoon thunderstorms are common. They bring sharp lightning, booming thunder, high winds, and driving downpours of rain. On a recent short, intense storm there was hail, and limbs and trees were knocked down. On this morning’s walk I noticed piles of cut branches and wood taken to curbs.
People are tired, less patient, grumpier. The change from air-conditioned buildings to outside exhausts the body and spirit.
I walk and work outside only between 7 and 8 am and 7 and 8 pm.
An afternoon nap is always in order.
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Two books by George Howe Colt:
The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer House. Scribner, 2003.
There are accounts of summer activities: swimming, sailing, fishing, tennis, board games, pool tournaments, and a hide-and-seek game called Sardines. There are interesting and sympathetic character sketches of family members of this and of other generations. One chapter, “Old Money,” is a thoughtful consideration of the challenges of being a wealthy, upper-class New England family. Colt does not draw back from the darker sides of experiences, and he writes with an engaging, simple, and effective prose style.
November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide. Scribner, 2006.
At 536 pages and an additional 92 pages of notes, bibliography, and index, this book is an interesting and comprehensive exploration of the subject. It covers teen suicides, the history of attitudes about suicides from primitive cultures to today, the range of suicidal behaviors, efforts at prevention, discussions about the right to die (including physician-assisted suicide), and effects on loved ones. Colt involves the reader directly by detailing the lives of those in suicidal situations and thus evokes sympathy and attempts at understanding.