Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir
A breeze flutters the flag on my porch. The red, white and blue swishes this way and hovers another before falling for a momentary rest. The fronds on my neighbor's palms fan slightly to and fro. Their flag flies almost upright high out on the dock, the breeze out there more like a wind.
I watch all this undulating as I sit inside and try to put a few words together. My chair outside on the porch idly waits, like it's calling me to come park my behind. I like to write out there. The breeze adds to this enticing invitation.
As inviting as it may appear, I won't succumb. I know it's an illusion. It's hotter than hell out there. The view from this side of the window comes with AC. I'll leave the 102 degree temperature for hardier souls. And hope those working in it are drinking lots of water.
Yesterday the temp reached 109. One hundred and nine. It was too hot to swim, the relentless sun rescinding my hopes for comfort. When the sun finally sank below the horizon, I ventured out. The flags drooped limply. A cicada whined for a mate. The water didn't move. The air suffocated me in its silence.
I jumped into the lake. Rather, I jumped into a giant hot tub. The lake needed relief from the sun's rays more than me.
It's quiet at the lake during the week. My husband took up all the weekend dweller's trash cans after the garbage truck came by. The neighbors next door, who live here full-time, have bailed for mountain air. Smart people. While my husband watches movies downstairs on the only TV, I find myself unable to choose what to do. I'm out of sync.
Normally, I'm sequestered in my hammock, a stack of books beside me while relishing every second of the long days of summer. I'll jump in the water when I get too warm or before switching to a different book. I float and study the landscape or the movement of the water, or the boats going by. I talk to the ducks or geese that swim around me. Or a turtle, that pops up his head to see what I'm up to.
Today, I watch the theater before me from behind the glass. My stack of books sit idle, the covers seemingly saying, "Pick me up. Choose me." I don't choose them. Nor do I clean something around here that surely needs cleaning. My watercolor paints on the table don't care how little I know about using them. They are ready. I thought I was too.
But I only have energy for looking out the window, where absolutely nothing is happening, except the breeze blowing the flags and the water rushing by with today's wind, like it's running from the heat.
No boaters sail by. No tubers or skiers sing out with glee. No birds fly by. No ducks or geese wait for a toss of cat food or a swimming companion. We're all in hiding.
Seems a sin to be inside on a summer day.
But I'll wait until today's sun, like yesterday's, sinks behind that vista
and the temp drops to 90. Then I'll float -- in the moonshine.