Does Anyone Still Read Books?

Not too long ago I was able to boast that there was only one book that I had started reading and hadn’t finished. I took pride in being able to persevere no matter how dense, how challenging, how boring— except for Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  

Unfortunately, those days are long past.  Lately I have quit reading more books than I have finished.  Hell, I often find myself quitting a magazine article if it gets too long — though I blame that on my iPhone’s small screen and the infinite scrolling required to read long articles.

It would be nice to believe that quitting books after beginning to read them is the result of improved taste, that over the years I’ve become more “discerning.”  After all, I tell myself, someone who has read as much as I have must have developed better taste than my younger self had. Perhaps that accounts for some of the books that sounded good when I read a review but didn’t seem to live up to the review as I read them.  Still, I find it hard to reconcile that excuse that with the fact that I still waste hours watching excruciatingly bad television shows or spend hours playing Solitaire on my computer while listening to music.

Perhaps my many electronic devices are contributing to the problem. Overall, I suspect I read almost as much as  I used to, though, perhaps, not as much as I did when I was in college or  when I was in the middle of grading term papers.  Now days, though, most of that time is spent reading short news articles or blog entries, not books.  I’ve always prided myself on “being informed” but social media may have turned me into a “news junkie.”  Reading short articles on Facebook almost feels like a “FIX” — though nothing I read seems to “fix” anything; it just hooks me into wanting another hit..  

What I fear most is that not having the will, the determination, to finish every book I start with is simply one more sign of old age.  Since nothing else seems to function quite as well as it used to, why wouldn’t my brain change, too?  I certainly can’t run a 6 minute mile in combat boots anymore, why should I be able to finish a long book that I don’t feel compelling?  If that’s the case, will it become harder and harder to read an entire book?  

Will I be forced to rely on flower photos, scenics, or bird shots as an excuse to post on this site?  

Oh wait, I’ve already been doing that for nearly a year now, haven’t I?  Not too long ago Mike emailed and wondered when I was going to post something on poetry again.  I told him I was having trouble finding a poetry book that I could finish, much less write something about.  

Hidden Lake Trail

We spent last weekend at The Dirtyface Lodge outside Leavenworth with Cory and Margaret.  On Monday Leslie and I took an easy hike to Hidden Lake while the kids floated the Wenatchee River.  

I was surprised at how similar the trail was to the Carter Falls Trail though only half as long.

Hidden Lake

was quite beautiful.

When I chose the hike, I had hoped to get a shot of Dirtyface Mountain from the trail since it was right across Lake Wenatchee, but there were so many trees that there never was a clear shot of the mountain.

In the end, we drove down to a boat launch to get a shot of the mountain in the distance.  

Even though Dirtyface Lodge is at the base of the mountain, I don’t think I had ever seen the mountain until our hike.

Carter Falls, Mt. Rainier

Last Thursday we went for another hike in Mt Rainier National Park.  Although we only caught a brief glimpse of the mountain peak this time,

the Carter Fall section of the Wonderland Trail is still quite beautiful.

Crossing the Nisqually River on a log bridge is always exciting. Even though it is probably as wide as a normal hallway, it never seems that wide when there’s a river rushing below you.

Although the trail was never as steep as the surrounding peaks would suggest,

it was a steady uphill climb as we followed a small creek up the mountain.

The highlight of this section of the Wonderland Trail is Carter Falls, 

but there is a whole series of smaller falls that are also quite delightful and provide natural air-conditioning.

I was too winded to get a shot on the climb up the trail, but since it was an up-and-back trail, not a loop, this shot of Leslie and Paul walking down the trail suggests the steady, uphill incline .

Even though I prefer loop trails where you constantly see new things, I saw things going downhill that I’d missed on the way up the trail, like this huge boulder that diverted the creek.

Dahlias, and More Dahlias

Long-time followers of this blog probably remember that Loren’s favorite part of the Pt. Defiance Rose Garden is the Dahlia section.  I’m sure that the links that automatically shows similar posts will reveal that I have already posted shots of the these Dahlias, certainly the one with the two bumblebees, but I can’t resist trying to capture there transitory beauty every time I see them.

I’m always gobsmacked by how many different varieties of Dahlias there are: 

I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite, but I think I’d agree with the Bumblebees that this is the most attractive of them all.