Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cat Fish Are Jumping And The Cotton Is High

Well if it's true that sweating releases toxins, all of mine are floating around the universe somewhere.
Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I was talking about how strangely cool it was here? So of course the pendulum has swung and it's getting close to a hundred every day and up above too, in some areas. It's stunningly hot.

On my walk this morning I could feel the weary despair of the trees, the plants. There is a quiet about things and I think that even the crickets, the birds, all of the critters, are being still and silent to conserve energy. I wonder where the animals get their water? Sure, there are rivers and ponds and creeks but one doesn't see every one of god's creatures lapping at the banks.
Kathleen and I were talking the other day about how we know that watering with a sprinkler is the most inefficient way to get things done but how much we delight in seeing the birds standing in it, being drenched and cooled. I know that each blade of monkey grass, each leaf, holds a bit of water awhile for the lizards to drink from, the squirrels and butterflies and yes, the birds too.

We are stupefied in this heat and if we are going to get anything done outside, it must be done in the early morning. We suffer the south's version of cabin fever- we stay inside during the summer when the days grow so hot and let the air conditioning churn out the air which we can breathe, which we can work in.
I hate being in the house all day and I don't even turn the damn AC on until late afternoon when I realize that I am angry and tense and irritated and it's all because of the heat, nothing else. I do not know how they did it in the old days. As I always say, they were stronger than I am. If I keep my bedroom closed up, the night's AC air stays in and it is markedly cooler there and I lay down and turn on the fans and fall asleep. I do not feel guilty.

The blackberries which I had such hope for in our early, cool, wet spring are ripening but they are the size of mouse eyes. I feel no compulsion to go out and risk heatstroke and snake bite for the sake of gathering them this year. Maybe later. I don't know. I would have to pick and pick and pick and would only come home with a quart, hardly worth the doing of it. If I needed that to get through the winter, then yes, I would. But I don't.

Well. Summer in the south. I hang the clothes on the line and one load is dry before the next one comes clean in the washer. I think of what to make for supper and the idea of making anything which requires heat seems ridiculous. I fantasize about cutting up raw vegetables from the garden, putting them on a plate with some Tzatziki sauce and saying, Here's dinner. We would crunch and gnaw our way through a few green beans, some squash and then push our plates aside. Ugg. Cooking. Ugg. Eating.
Yes, salads are lovely. We shall be eating more of them.
And cold soups.

Mr. Moon is home. Ah. I told him last night that I had spent a few nights in the bed with Big Bear while he was gone.
"Well," he said, "Big Glen is here now."
He's so funny. And big.
I fell asleep last night with his hand on my hip. Home. He's home.
And today I do laundry which was worn in casinos and airplanes. He went away, he brought himself back and I am glad to do that laundry. I washed the sheets this morning. When he got into the bed he looked at a suspicious spot on the sheets. I was clueless until I realized it was probably one of Owen's footprints. He loves our bed and I do try to clean off our feet before we get on it, or in it, but sometimes...
A boy's dirty footprint is not such a bad thing to sleep on but I washed the sheets anyway. They hang on the line right now, blindlingly white. Hell yes, I love bleach. Sorry.

And there you have it- it is June in North Florida. There is no rain in sight for weeks. There has been no rain here in Lloyd for months. Tornadoes are tearing things up even as far north as Massachusetts and rivers are flooding and there is the usual talk of El Nino and La Nina and which one will rule and determine the number of hurricanes we get. It's just a damn anxious time of year and we always feel that we can't control the weather but it is obvious now that yes, we can, and we have and we do but not in a good way. Not in a purposeful, thoughtful way but in the opposite way, in fact.
We'll adapt or we'll die.
And this is summer and we close our eyes and smile if a breeze ruffles the leaves, we turn on the sprinkler, we go to the river, we eat watermelon, we don't wear many clothes, we pay outrageous bills for the power to run our air conditioners, we move slowly, we resign ourselves to it all, we convince ourselves that in sweating, we are releasing toxins and I doubt that is true but it's what we tell ourselves. And if we are lucky and have air-conditioning, we can lay down on clean white sheets at night and stretch out and relax in coolness, lying there toxin-free, and we sleep and then we get up and do it all again.



  1. I can't imagine. I really can't. I will stay here with the rain, and no snakes or tornadoes or yellow fly. We may have our own little heatwave this weekend. If I can borrow some money, I might take the kids camping, to the beach.

  2. I have a raccoon visiting my backyard every afternoon now just to drink out of my birdbaths. He's fun to watch, but I sure do feel sorry for him because he looks like he is really suffering in this awful heat.

  3. Even though I grew up in Chicago with its gritty, muggy summer heat, I can't function in hot temperatures anymore. But----cold soups are so beautiful and delicious with a loaf of french bread and a pretty salad.
    And ratatouille, so incredibly good made straight from the garden.

  4. I love the way you write, it's like a mini-novel, I love American writing........I fell asleep last night with his hand on my hip...........what a picture, what a life. I am trying my hand at growing salad, so far I have radishes and rocket sprouting!!

  5. Oh, you took the words right out of my mouth. Summer in E. TN is pretty, all right, until about 10:00 am and then it's sweat behind the knees almost unbearable. We still get out in it, though, and run through city park fountains and swim in neighborhood pools. The rest of the time I'm in my bedroom, too, with its cool white comforter.

    You've hit the nail on the head with the "South's version of cabin fever". Too true, too true. I'll do a rain dance for youuuuuuuuu.

  6. Jo- Sounds delightful! But you know, we all probably are best suited to where we live. We may bitch, but here we are....

    Lois- I know! It's so hard on the critters.

    A- And if my peppers ever kick in, there will be ratatouille.

    Young At Heart- I LOVE rocket. We call it arugula. It's one of the best. Good luck! And thank-you for liking American writing.
    Speaking as an American. Who writes.

    silverfinofhope- You give me a silver fin of hope that we will get rain. Thank you.

  7. Dear Mary, another beautiful and wonderfully written post.

    Oh God! It sounds unbearably hot. It's hot here and people are moaning but there's a breeze and my house is so cool inside I can't moan. I sit in the shade in my garden and it's lovely.

    I hope you get some rain but no hurricanes!

    Your bed sounds perfect. I always sleep with the AC on on holiday, I don't feel guilty either.

    I love you very much xx

  8. I could not take the heat and humidity you endure there. Here on the Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies we can have brutal winters, but the summers are lovely. A few mosquitoes and that is about it for vermin.

  9. It is terribly hot here. We are irrigating like crazy. Thankfully, there is a sea breeze in the evenings. Glad that Mr. Moon is back.

  10. Sorry it's so damn hot. So far, it hasn't been terrible here. Just one or two bad days. Hurricane season scares me because of you guys and Syd and my beloved Savannah. I'll be glad when that damn time is over.

  11. Christina- Heat, like most things, is relative. I mean, if the people in oh, say Iraq, heard me complaining about temperatures in the nineties, they'd probably laugh their asses off. Your lips to god's ear about the hurricanes and rain...
    Love you, dear.

    Andrew- And I could not take the cold. I guarantee you. So it works out. In a way...
    (But why don't we all live in Hawaii?)

    Syd- No sea breeze here. Enjoy yours, love.

    Ms. Bastard- It's like we're always watching our backs. We've been very lucky the past few years.

  12. Clean white sheets on the line sure take me back to hanging mine on the line. I hang clothes out still but no room for the sheets as I don't have a clothes line like I use to.

    Oh our men...nothing finer than the feel of them tucked into bed next to us...I too have a tall Love and I stand below his shoulders in my flat feet. Everyone thinks I am short without shoes on...and I am. I can't reach much and always need a step stool or chair.

    I am fixing winter food still. It is so cool and not the way it should be at all! Of course I wouldn't want your type of heat. We would be having smoothies for dinner.

  13. I just passed through that storm that brought the tornado down on Mass, just moved a daughter to outside of Boston. Then we hit a deer...

    life is just all crazy and wonderful and we were in Philadelphia where is it was scorching hot , and tonight here at home in southern Ontario , it's cool and clear and perfect.

    I love me some clean crisp white sheets. I miss my clothes line. Our neighbourhood won't allow them. Bleach. Bleach is the best.

    See... I knew i loved you.


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