High Temperature: 96F Low Temperature: 73F Sunrise: 6:21 am Sunset: 8:41 pm Humidity: 61% Wind: s 10 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
I've started a new book today. My reading has increased as the temperature rises. It is my second by Umberto Eco (I finished The Name of the Rose several months ago and loved it, though much of it went flying right over my head): The Island of the Day Before. The protagonist is a young man from the 15th Century who survives a shipwreck by strapping himself to a piece of wood and fortuitously floating after several days in the sea to another ship, this one anchored in a calm bay between an island and (perhaps) a continent. The catch is that no one is on board, though there are plenty of provisions. The other catch is, because of damage to his eyes and a dash of hypochondria, the young man avoids daylight and instead, attempts to explore the ship (and describe it in his letters) at night. Further complicating matters is that the ship log is in Dutch so he cannot determine the reason for the crew's absence. Strange smells and sounds emanate from the hold of the ship - and he can't swim.
What does this have to do with a heat index of 114? Nothing except that I feel a little like the protagonist with his fear and dread of the burning sun. We close up the house at noon and move and work in the yellowed and muted light that comes in around the drawn shades. When at last we open up in the evening and step outside, our eyes burn and water, like the book's hero must have as he was strapped to the wooden plank, riding the waves.
At this point he takes refuge in his nightly vigils as in a maternal womb, and becomes thus more determined to elude the sun. Perhaps he has read of those Resurgents of Hungary, of Livonia or Walachia, who wander restless between sunset and dawn, hiding then in their graves at cock-crow: the role could lure him...
- from The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco