“Short Takes” is a new Friday post where I will reflect on the past week, citing happenings of interest: a good read, social observations, and the like.
“The Handmaid’s Tale:”
I’ve been captivated by this series, although I have to watch it in segments because it’s so powerful that it unsettles me. It’s definitely not something I can see right before bed. The entire cast is brilliant. It’s produced by Hulu whose contemporary adaptations make it even more disturbing.
For those of you not familiar with the story, it’s adapted from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel with the same name. This dystopian story describes life in Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States. Because of dangerously low reproduction rates, handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving. The handmaids live in bondage without any personal freedom.
Last week while housebound with bronchitis I read the new book, “The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck. It’s about a disparate group of women widowed by WW2. Along with their children, they attempt to rebuild their lives, seeking refuge in a run-down Bavarian castle. Well-drawn characters, which range from a small town beauty used to having her way; a hard working farm woman who makes the most of their small provisions; and a former aristocrat who bravely takes on the local government. I highly recommend it whether you need a sick read or a good book.
The Long Wait for Spring in Maine:
Mainers are grumbling about the lingering cold and the general absence of sun, lamenting spring’s refusal to make a proper entrance. I’m among them but see signs of hope in the blossoming of my baby daffodils and summer shrubs.
Climate March in DC last Saturday:
I wish I had been well enough to attend. My brother and numerous friends were there. They all reported being charged up by the diverse crowd.
I live in downtown Portland in a townhouse that’s about one block away from a large subsidized apartment building inhabited by low-income residents.
On my daily walks, I pass some of these neighbors. One man pushes his little dog in a shopping cart loaded with empty bottles. Two seriously obese women get about in motorized wheelchairs. Another man, who wears sandals year round, routinely combs the area in front of my building looking for cigarette stubs. I’m tempted to offer him a pack of cigarettes, but I’m not prepared to have him knock on my door for a new pack whenever he runs out. Clearly, life isn’t fair.
Looking forward to the weekend when I may have a visit from an old friend.