Friday, July 25, 2003

I rarely remember dreams. If I remember anything, it usually vanishes within an hour of waking. If I sleep on a problem, the answer often comes. But when I wake, only the answer remains; the package in which it came has disappeared.

When dreams match memories, though, I remember them well. So I remember the dream about the raven. He was affectionate, and ate ivy. That was a second-hand dream, though; I only remember it because it was once recounted to me.

There are no dreams involved in the crazy cardinal waking me up. The bird is clearly offended by the intruder it sees in the mirror of the window. It has a morning ritual: fly from the branch, peck the reflection in the window -- bang! -- and return to the branch. Repeat until the angle of the sun makes the reflection disappear. Mom tells me that it will fly off in confusion if I walk to the window and stare out at it. She also tells me that the cats will come charging to see the cardinal if I leave the door open for them.

The cardinal's charges woke me, but I did not get out of bed for a while. I felt lazy, probably because I read late into last night. I've now finished the Belisarius series (the remainder of Destiny's Shield and all of Fortune's Stroke). I think after I finish Dawn to Decadence, I'll add some histories of the Byzantine empire to my list. Both Kay's Sarantium duology and the Belisarius series of Drake and Flint are loosely based on the Byzantine empire and it's neighbors in the sixth century CE, and I enjoyed both sets of books largely for their setting.

If I buy such a history, it will probably eventually make its way to the shelf below the window that so offends that crazy cardinal. That shelf is home to several nonfiction books that I've shared with my parents: Gleick's Faster, Putnam's Bowling Alone, and Hoffman's The Man Who Loved Only Numbers all sit there. Galileo's Daughter would be there, too, but my brother Scott is reading it now. I do enjoy loaning and recommending books. Perhaps it's similar to the enjoyment some friends find in playing matchmaker, but with much less work and much less potential for offense.

My old sticks lean against that shelf. They're a pair, cut to the length of my arm. They are light, in both color and weight, but they're tough. I remember cutting them to the right length, polishing them smooth, and finishing them with tung oil. When I first picked them up, they were still a little rough and the finish was still tacky. They rubbed the skin along my thumbs and index fingers raw, at first. One weighs a bit more than the other; I always used that one in my left hand. I have a pair of sticks in California as well, but they are heavier, darker, smoother, and a little longer. And I didn't make them. I like my sticks in California, though I practice with them far too infrequently. But they aren't the same as the old sticks by the shelf.