We're enjoying a break in the hot, humid weather that we've had recently. Although our heat was nothing like the 100+ temps elsewhere, the heat index hit 100 and more for the past seven days. Even at night it did not cool down enough to make a difference. We've had nine days over 90 this month, which was aggravated by the high humidity here in New England.
But this morning I was able to throw open the windows and doors until around 10:30, when the sun rose high. Getting some fresh air inside made a great difference. I was beginning to feel like a mushroom, always in the dark! The shades are pulled all day to keep the house as cool as possible. The floor model air conditioner runs most of the night (Thank goodness for the timer that turns it off after I'm asleep!)
Other than a short walk at lunch and a nice long walk at the shore last weekend, I've spent most of my time indoors. So reading The River of Doubt made me feel like a wimp about the weather.
Nonfiction has become my thing. So this accounting of Theodore Roosevelt's journey down South America's uncharted river was exactly the book I needed for those times when I had a spare hour...the occasional lunch break with no commitments, at the laundry after work, an evening when everything else was caught up. I learned some very interesting and personal things about our former president; that he would push himself to the limit, each time to a further extreme. And he expected the same from his children. He taught them not only to face challenges but to look for them. It was this mindset that brought him to this expedition after the loss in his bid for the presidency. He needed a tougher challenge and charting the unknown territory of the River of Doubt filled that need.
Through the daily journaling of members of this expedition, the hardships seem inhuman. From the struggle between man against nature to man against man, it was grueling. In a setting as beautiful and unspoiled as the Garden of Eden, life and death truly are commonplace events. The Amazon absorbed living things as if it were a living organism itself.
The insights into the personalities of Theodore Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, were fascinating. Through an incredible amount of research, Candice Millard presented a glimpse into the man who once led the United States. I had never studied this president before but will do more reading about him after this.
It put our little "heat wave" into perspective ;)