This morning I woke at five a.m. Never happy to be so rudely introduced to a new day, I obliged my body's biological demands (as many women my age do on any given morning), deciding going back to sleep would render me useless. I'd be a wreck the rest of the day for having squandered a perfectly good morning on trying to catch a few extra winks. I love my sleep and am an early-to-bed-girl.
Mornings are me time. Ever so quietly, I read, I write, I read some more. It was quite beautiful this morning. The full moon was peeking out from behind the clouds in the west, and the sun was barely beginning to rise in the east. I try to keep as quiet as possible for fear of waking the sleeping dogs:
Let sleeping dogs lie--I remained true.
This morning, I was thinking about my tomatoes. It's been a good year despite the drenching rains and flooding we had mid-summer. I worried a lot about the tomato crop. But somehow those seedlings I'd begun in March: they've survived (as have I).
Every Sunday since mid-July, I've made homemade marinara sauce with the fresh tomatoes picked throughout the week, adding, of course, fresh basil and any other garden edible along the way I find interesting. I don't have enough ripened tomatoes any given week to can--just plenty to fill a bowl on the kitchen counter, then into my saucepan come Sunday. The aroma that fills the house is undeniably "summer". Lately I've had enough tomatoes to use in a curry mid-week as well. Then whenever possible, DH loves a nice veggie burger topped with huge slices of the garden tomatoes. Because as I remind him, I don't bring a tomato into this house after summer and my tomatoes are gone. Canned are okay. But those other things in the grocery store sold as "tomatoes", not gonna happen.
By this stage of summer, however, my zest for tomatoes begins to wane. It happens. What an ingrate, right? Oh well. I keep harvesting the ripe ones. Sundays will remain marinara days until the first frost.
I feel so sorry for women I see at the grocery store pondering the cost of a nice heirloom variety getting sticker shocked at having to pay almost four dollars a pound for a tomato. I seriously want to have a conversation with each and every one of them about the virtues of keeping and tending to tomato plants and how impossibly easy they actually are to grow (despite the hullabaloo to the contrary).
No one should have to pay four dollars for a tomato. No. One.
Right now, we're having one of those Miserable Midwest Heat Waves of A Sort. Stagnate air. Icky, sticky humidity. No rain in sight. It's been a strong belief of mine that August is about punishing. September is a reward for making it through July, and then August.
I've been setting aside time for reading in the afternoons.
(Because I am coming clean here: I can't meditate to save my life.)
This has proven to be both very good for me and sort of like meditating. I've always been "a reader". My mother was a reader, my sister likes to read, my grandmother was a reader.
Books always mattered in our home. But I'm a person who distracts easily. With three dogs, a husband, a house, land, plus a million other little projects dangling in front of me, getting distracted happens quite a lot. So my reading time helps me center, helps me focus. Plus it reminds me that I am currently not suffering the effects of any dementia as I am able to follow the story along.
*Fingers crossed. Prayers said.
Currently I have my head in Judy Blume's book, In the Unlikely Event. Enjoying it. But that's just one of the paper versions of reading I have going on. I also just ordered Joan Didion's book, Slouching Toward Bethlehem: Essays. (Reading her 1968 observations on America: priceless.) Huge. Fan.
I'm a person who juggles my reading, never committed to just one book at a time. I don't know why.
My Kindle has sort of contributed to this "problem"--but in a good way. (I think.) There is no such thing as "too many books" around here. Right now, Mr. Kindle is chock FULL of books of interest plus my "currently reading" titles. If there are folks tracking my reading--and I am certain there are, I am sure they scratch their heads and consider me a bit of a neurotic, but passionate reading patron.
(Perhaps we should just slap one of those Amazon smiley faces across the front of our house.) Seriously.
I love nonfiction as much as fiction. I'm a picky reader, of course. (Aren't we all?) The most interesting and by far the one that I have stepped in and out of the most throughout this summer has been Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.
It's very accessible to the non-medical layperson, but also a heady read.
Such an important book on all matters of living and then . . . not.
Sunday as DH and I sat reading, someone else sat on mommy's lap and wished for a) me to put the book down, and b) for this damn heat to go away and for cool, crisp autumn to arrive.
Soon. Very Soon.