A lot can happen when transiting Mercury conjuncts one's Mars - the brief influence or reflection, as it may be, can indicate ill temper, belligerence, defensiveness - "cruising for bruising" one source calls it. This doesn't sound unlike where I can go any day of the week, though. But it interests me that during this conjunction, yesterday and today, I have news of the murder of a local woman allegedly at the hand of a gentleman I have been acquainted with, who 16 years back visited in our home on the farm we had then, a person with whom I met several times to discuss editing a book he was writing. One panicky afternoon back then, before I resided in this town, before I had a cellphone, I knocked at the door of his house and was let in to use his telephone because I couldn't find a functioning pay phone and had an emergency.

Clearly he was an isolated fellow, somewhat younger than I was. When I opened my bookshop he visited once and we conversed. I made a cynical remark about something I've forgotten now, and he took me literally, although I meant the opposite, and he became enraged and fled, and he would not acknowledge me thereafter if we passed on the street. A woman who was a close friend to me for several years dated him briefly, and then suddenly broke it off and virtually went into hiding with no explanation. This man attended a Friends of the Library meeting I was at and left in a rage when it did not begin precisely at the expected time. That was the last time I saw him, actually, and by then I had some study of high-functioning autism under my belt and had quietly diagnosed him as such, with OCD as his comorbidity. He had the typical "melt-downs" and social cluelessness and obsessive interests - the subject of his book, for example, which he spent most of his time researching.

Now the papers tell us he has been wanted for assault in a nearby county since 2006, where a woman had accused him of strangling her into unconsciousness. This would have been the time of his bookshop visit. He was into bodybuilding then, and had bulked up alarmingly since his visit to our farm years before. And now, because the accusation of a woman was insufficient to motivate the Oregon cops to follow up and extradite him, even at the request of our local police, a different woman has been found murdered in his house, and he found unconscious in a closet having consumed suicidal amounts of drugs and alcohol, when the fire department arrived to extinguish the fire he'd set to destroy all evidence, apparently, and himself.

I have been shaken - all night, all day. He was a scary person, attractive but socially inept, utterly offputting. But I feel his isolation acutely. I feel his rage, his desperation. I can see the darkened rooms, feel his panic and remorse. I have had no one to discuss this with. I work at other things, keep busy, but experience such sorrow for his aloneness. No one will visit him in jail. He'll have no one to talk to. He won't understand himself and his motives and compulsions. Ach. What is wrong with me? Why do I align so easily with the out-of-register? I am continually self-endangered by this tendency. I am glad I know enough about the Asperger's female to understand now that we put ourselves in harm's way. I will have to work hard to callous over this deep empathetic nerve that feels what (I imagine) he feels. What terror these women must have experienced. I can feel that too.


Social Sunday

Sweet to have a layer of soft cloud to gentle the morning after days of miseryheat. BrotherB sits at the kitchen table relishing his oatmeal (raisins! pecans! raw honey!) and banana and milk and dish of supplements (calcium, vitamin D, and so on). I'm in the next room with my own version of breakfast, and doing this instead of what I wish I was doing - lying in bed with a book.

Sunday was my day for that, a recharge day after the crazy Saturdays when I work hardest traveling after used books at sales and then cleaning and repairing them, and finally adding them to my online inventory. Blessed Sunday, before scary Monday and resumption of social responsibility.

Not lately, though, and I'm a little wistful about it.

But I do get to see the friends who could not visit otherwise. A couple of lovely ladies I have not seen in ages will arrive in 90 minutes, quite by surprise. I have nothing but hugs and words to give them, but I am so pleased and grateful they think of visiting me. Then at noon come GameDay friends, for whom only Sunday meetings will work.

When you're a little high on the autism spectrum you take your social life where you can.

Had I awakened today, as yesterday, at 6, I would have had hours of quiet time in the rear yard with my coffee and cat. But that extra visit this morning, unexpected as it is (hastily arranged just yesterday evening), had to be rehearsed to death through half the night, and so I struggled into sleep, and then slept late.

Now I have barely an hour to vacuum the joint and spruce myself up a little. I don't know how normal people do it.


Like a bicycle

I'd almost forgotten how to sign in and post text to this thing.

I suppose I'll climb back on and see how far I can go. I'd despaired of ever writing again, but now I think - maybe ...

It's 7:23 here at the start of what will surely be a very hot Saturday. Thunderclouds and scent of rain passed over in the night, to our delight. The air is sweet and still a little cool at this hour, with cacophany of sparrows and persistent coo of dove. They always are so happy to be alive.

I awoke to a handful of book sales in the online chute, and that is a very good thing. Sales have been spotty for months, and four titles at one go is a gift indeed. We'll keep eating.

I see the blooms on the volunteer hollyhock (grown lush and tall in the doorside half-barrel of melissa and catmint) finally reveal themselves, opening a dark glossy blood-red. Well, surprise! no frilly pastels for this family!

Now to the little stack of packing slips: a science textbook, a vintage paperback on hunting jungle animals, a Christian tract (my first sale to Guam!), a first-edition 1066 and All That. Hope I can track them all down.