I'm not ready for the summer heat; Seattle threw me a bone today. A chilly spring day with the best kind of rain. You could see it approaching, you could smell it in the air. I was walking south, and I knew things were changing quickly. There was a good chance I was going to get caught in a sudden downpour, and I welcomed it.
It rains a fair bit in Seattle. The stories are true. But I'm convinced the rain differs by seasons. I'm not trying to sound profound or insightful. I don't know anything about weather. But in spring, summer, and fall, you can smell the rain before it makes its entrance. In the winter, everything is a blanket of wet cold, and my nose provides no advantage. It's similar to flat light.
I stopped just north of John (TB, I think I got it right this time!) to watch two neighborhood cats approach one another. I was worried there'd be a fight, but I think these two know one another. A black cat and an orange cat (sorry for getting technical again). The orange cat started cleaning the black cat, and they both paused at times to look my way. The black cat must have taken umbrage at the orange cat's flaunting of social distancing etiquette because the black cat rolled over, pushed the orange cat away, and then ran off. The orange cat followed.
It was like The Gunslinger.
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
If you've never read Stephen King's Dark Tower series, you should. That opening line alone should be enough to give it a shot. The series went rapidly downhill at the end, but it's incredible. I don't fault King. Wrapping up an epic (and it is an epic) can't be easy, and I think his awful experience getting hit by a car made his relationship with his tour de force even more challenging.
I fear I'm coming across harsher than intended. I loved those books. And when your characters are dealing with the fate of the universe...well, it's impossible to deliver nice, tidy answers.
I bought some random items at the grocery store thinking I might cook, but I wasn't feeling all that inspired when I got home. I'm trying to cut back on pasta, so I went with pasta. I figured orecchiette deserved a break, so I went with pipe rigate and some marinara. It is really difficult to beat that simple combination. Comforting on a rainy night.
Cal Anderson was nearly empty. There was a lone dog just south of the fountain. I stopped for a couple of minutes watching the dog sniff the grass. I was pretty far away, and I could only see one person walking. I assume they were together. It reminded me of a meme I love, with a dog sitting on a rocky perch overlooking a valley, with a cartoon bubble over its head. If I pee here, all of this is mine. It's a funny meme, but as a dog lover, I think most dogs finish that thought with you can pee here, too, and it's also yours. It's ours. But that frisbee is definitely mine.
I'm stalling. I'm listening to The Glory of Byzantium, and I've just about finished re-reading The Fall of Constantinople 1453 by Steven Runciman. (That's not an affiliate link, just a link. Amazon understandably booted me from their affiliate program, and the other one I tried is just a mess. So, a link for link's sake.) An incredible work describing an incredible moment in time, whose anniversary approaches.
It reads like something out of Tolkien. The weary, besieged city, hoping for the arrival of Hunyadi's Rohirrim. But with that description I've contributed to a fanboy's viewing. Runciman was a Byzantinist. But that doesn't mean he ignored their faults or excused their excesses. And he did not begrudge the Osmanli furthering their interests in the same way that the Byzantines and others had done - through the might of sword and coin. He's candid about depicting 1453 through the eyes of the Byzantines and their tragedy, but it's with an awareness that the Byzantines played by the same rules when fortune favored them. I have no interest in the social media battles between religious/nationalist idealogues. Killing in the name of...
I should wrap this up. It's getting late. I stopped reading when Constantine, recognizing that the battle is lost, throws off his imperial regalia and wades into the waves of conquering Janissaries. Runciman did his research (boy did he do his research), but I suspect we have to take some of the drama with a grain of salt.
I can't read that section without going straight back to Istanbul. Pulling up maps. I walked a good portion of Istanbul/Constantinople, but I'm reminded of how much I didn't see (history repeats in Seattle). Reminded of days I stayed home doing nothing instead of seeking out all the old gates and monasteries or finding the best neighborhood mantī site. Ahh mantī.
Reading it makes me wonder why I left Turkey. A fool's nostalgia. I write a bit about that idea of finding home. I've been close to it a couple of times, and I think I was closest to it in Istanbul. It was disrupted by 9/11, but it was also a mirage. I had community, but it was nomadic and transient. Time moves slower when you're younger, so it didn't seem all that nomadic and transient then. Still, I think one could spend a rewarding, adventurous life exploring all that Turkey, Greece, the Levant, and the Black Sea have to offer.