Thursday, July 28, 2011


It finally rained today. Just as we had yearned for the sun after the cold hold of winter, we were thirsty for even the tiniest spit of rain. It has been a very dry July save for the thick humidity that slicks your skin in 95 degree weather. Last week was oppressive. The air was so thick it felt like breathing through a dry sponge. I was certain that my face was sliding off and would land on my feet. We were melting- a living homage to the Persistence of Memory.  My flowers had begun to lose their plump waxiness. There were fatalities in the window boxes- crispy, brittle wisps where once colorful petunias bloomed. The grass was burned on bone dry ground and it hurt to even tiptoe on it with bare toes. When I turned on the hose to fill The Baby's wading pool, chickadees gathered to lap up the drippings and bathe in the barely there puddle I'd left behind. I'd forgotten about them, that they might be suffering too. We left bowls of water- a meager offering- in the garden for them.

The Baby's energy slowed down. She learned the meaning of the words 'hot' and 'cold.' Hot no longer meant an admonishment to keep her hands away from harmful things (the stove, electrical cords). Hot was a state of being. When she walked in to her bedroom on a particularly stifling evening- before I could turn on her oscillating fan- she exclaimed, "Hot! Hot! Hot!" And she learned that cold remedied hot. She also learned that there are wonderful, colorful cold things that are stored in the freezer- freezie pops, Popsicles, juice bars, ice cream. Now that she knows where and what they are, there is no getting anything past her. She wants her share, too.

We broke down and bought a window air conditioner unit for our bedroom. And, we realized on the first night in our cooled room that there is a price to pay for relief from heat. Our air conditioner is the most clamorous apparatus we have ever owned. As it shut down abruptly to accommodate the energy saving mode, it startled us awake. And then again we were ripped from sleep at odd intervals as it popped and rumbled back to life to cool the room. Also, the kids moved in. Our space began to look like a tenement. Air mattresses, extra pillows, blankets, toys, water bottles covered every surface of our room. They slept soundly- so happy to be curled up in blankets- while we were kept awake by the incessant rubbery squeaking the air mattress made every time someone rolled over (and our kids roll over A LOT). Is it a testament to our getting older that we are less tolerable of the heat or have the weather patterns truly changed? I just cannot remember ever feeling overwhelmed by summer heat as a child. A fan was sufficient for cooling down. And now I pant and break a sweat just crossing from one room to the next.

My office does not have any sort of air circulation. I was banned from writing and illustrating. My brain was too mushy to string together words any way. But, my heart was truly aching to sketch out some sentiment, some vision or experience. Anything that may have pricked my creative soul then has now melted and evaporated. Today we had a reprieve with enough rain to allow us to skip watering the garden for one day. Today we had rain to slick the shingles of zinnias, to dampen the feathers of sparrows, to soften the sting of the sun. There is a steady shushing sound floating in from a breeze moving through the trees. And although the humidity still hangs heavy and fashions my curly hair into an afro, the air is comfortable enough to breath without fans or air conditioning.  Still, I long for one day- just 24 hours of non-stop rain when I have no other place to be but home. No, not just rain-but a torrential down pour. The kind of storm that is rambunctious, that throws lightening bolts and leaves your skin buzzing with electricity and anticipation. I still have to wait for it. I will not wish for it to rush in. Just like thoughts, words, inspiration- it will come when it is ready.

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