Eclipse fever.

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I’m so excited about the total solar eclipse on August 21st. I don’t know why I am so excited, but it might have something to do with the fact that the eclipse is happening, no matter who says what in a press briefing or in a tweet or in a Bullet Journal. It is science and it is happening.

I even put a sticker on my car.

Oregon eclipse love.

Oregon eclipse love.

If you won’t be near the path of totality, never fear! The eclipse will be live-streamed via NASA’s Eclipse Megacast. (I hope it lives up to that name.)

Fragility in fur.

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Zen, August 2017.

Zen, August 2017.

Born and forged in hothouse Alabama, Zen is a creature of heat. Throughout this week’s heat wave, she has sought out the warmest parts of our home. Like the corner of the eaves which — despite sounding like a place of great magical power in a children’s book series — is an infernal pocket of breath-sucking dryness. When not upstairs, Zen lounged on her heating pad during our 100°+ days.

I caught her once or twice splayed out on the wood floors, cooling herself off, but then she’d heft herself up and trek upstairs.

Stairs don't faze Zen, not even at 20. #tortitude

A post shared by Halsted Mencotti Bernard (@cygnoir) on

This morning, the heat has let up a bit. Zen has found a patch of sunshine. In photos like this one, I can pretend I don’t see the gauntness that has partially deflated her football shape. Zen has always loved the heat, but now she needs it because she doesn’t have the padding that used to keep her warm. Kneeling before her, half-dappled in sunlight, I bury my face in her fur. She hooks one paw over my forearm and kneads, purring, while my fingertips graze the tiny ridges of her vertebrae. Maybe soon, I think, but not yet.

Not yet.

In the corner of the bookstore.

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I love going to Powell’s, especially for the moment when I’ve found a few books and I curl up in a corner somewhere to pore over my choices, to turn them over in my hands and see how they feel as orbiting objects in my small universe. This time it was a well-loved used copy of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and a well-liked used copy of Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things”.

I don’t remember reading “In Cold Blood” although I find it impossible to have existed this long as a reader and writer without doing so. I definitely haven’t read “The God of Small Things” before now, but became curious after my mom sent me a sampling of Roy’s prose in a text message:

”The sky was thick with TV. If you wore special glasses you could see them spinning through the sky among the bats and homing birds—blondes, wars, famines, football, food shows, coups d’état, hairstyles stiff with hair spray. Designer pectorals. Gliding towards Ayemenem like skydivers. Making patterns in the sky. Wheels. Windmills. Flowers blooming and unblooming.”

Impossible to resist, as impossible as the corner of Powell’s in the Blue Room, near the local ‘zines, where all that potential and possibility rests on its haunches, ready to launch.

Powell’s Bookstore, Portland, Oregon