I’ve been busy transitioning from Maine to Florida for the winter. It’s not so much a culture shock as an environment shock. The day before we left our place in Maine, I took this (above) picture of the view outside our living room. Yesterday morning I took this (below) picture of the view outside our living room in Florida.
Gary and I visited a friend in Bowie, MD, on the trip down. She’s widowed, 80-something, and living in a life community setting that she says was fine while her husband was alive but not her preference now that he’s gone. She’d rather be back in the town in NY that they lived in for so many years, but she can’t afford to make the move now. The main reason for her dissatisfaction is the comparative lack of acquaintances and common histories. It’s a cautionary tale. (I’m trying to make lots of friends in the cityside setting. Our island setting is spectacularly beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to be living alone there.)
The book on this friend’s reading table – she prefers newspapers and only reads one book at a time, often not bothering to finish even that – was Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman. At least, I think that was it, and yet when I check into what the book is about, I can’t believe she’s reading it. It’s a romance novel dealing with the dark side of love and having a character reminiscent of Heathcliff. This is not the sort of book I’d predict this friend (“crusty” might best describe her) would enjoy, and so I look forward to learning her opinion when she has finished.
Many books tell cautionary tales. Maybe all books do, when you think about it. Fiction or nonfiction, there’s a reason the author is writing. There’s a story to tell that could turn out well or poorly for the protagonist, or there’s information to impart that, if not heeded, could turn out poorly for the reader. Think of the last book you read. Was there a cautionary tale element to it?