Today is one of those perfect Chicago summer afternoons. Generous sun, a few cotton clouds hanging low, a healthy breeze, comfortable temperatures. We had rain yesterday, so no lawn mowers to disturb the peace. What I hear mostly are the leaves dancing in the wind, a beautiful sound, always louder than you expect. Sounds a little like the tide of an ocean. Seriously. A little birdsong too, insistent crickets, the whining of a garbage truck that grates until it turns the corner, and then even that sounds pleasant. I’m sitting on a lawn chair in front of my house reading, or was reading until I turned to my laptop. I’m nearly done with East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

I’ve been reading the book for about 10 days now, in no hurry to finish because it’s brilliant. If you want to immerse yourself in one last book for the summer, East of Eden is nothing less than epic. It’s filled with drama and wisdom and humor and indelible characters. It’s a masterpiece, about as good as anything I’ve ever read.

I’ll be heading back to work in a couple of weeks for another school year, and I will look back fondly on this afternoon.



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