I read a lot while I was on this trip but the great thing about it was I didn't even have to bring the books with me. Mat had a great selection and I found 2 books that fit my mood perfectly.
During our time in Boquete while the wind and rain lashed us and we got to see the high hillsides were coffee grows, I was reading a book called The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It was absolutely wonderful. The story was rich and funny and layered and suspenseful, and more than anything it celebrated the incredible power of books and stories. It was exactly what I wanted and I'm so happy to have found this book.
After that, as I lounged on a hammock in between palm trees, I polished off Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse. This was another great read, in the vein of Pillars of the Earth.
That is true relaxation for me. A beer close at hand. A gentle breeze. A hot sun beating down just outside the shadow of the palm tree. A hammock. And in my hand a big, fat, huge book where most of the pages are still all piled up in my right hand. But then again, on the other hand, there's nothing in the world like the final pages of a perfect story. I'll take both and either.
As soon as I get one I like, it's a race to the finish for me. I need to know what happens next and I cannot rest, cannot sleep, don't even like eat, if there are still pages to go. Out on that island, lazy in the tree with Lu nearby and friends all around doing the same, it is the most powerfully relaxing and rejuvenating experience I can imagine.
I look around and see beauty, I read the words and fall into the tale, and then when I come up for air and realize the only next things are lunch and maybe a swim, it's pretty much perfection for me.
Or, at least, it is as close to perfection I can get these days. And I took every second of that while I was out there adrift and I tried so hard to enjoy it even though I missed my son so much. For a while lost in the pages, it worked. For a time I was perfectly transported.