Hot. Hot. Hot. I can barely form more syllables sitting here in my un-air conditioned home. This summer has been at least as hot and dry as last summer. Since I quit my job to freelance full-time earlier this year, this is also the first summer in two decades that I did not have a daily job to go to for refuge from the heat. The upside is that I wear what I would have during the summers of my lazy youth – tank top and nylon short-shorts (Who sees me? Our cat and dog. I do change clothes if I venture out!)
This summer has felt like the summers of my 1970s and 80s childhood. Perhaps only because I’ve soaked it into my every pore (then sweated it out). While the historical data doesn’t indicate especially hot or dry summers during the “me” and “yuppie” decades, my memory recalls sweltering afternoons relieved only by sprinkler jaunts, pool invites and Popsicles.
There is something about the chirps of crickets and songs of cicadas – Mother Nature’s thermometers – that take me back. As well as dried up lawns and box fans droning over televised Olympic events. The clincher was this week with the epic trip I took that resulted in my banged up knees. As I cleaned and bandaged one bloodied kneecap, I thought that all I needed was a chaise lounge and an orange Twin-Pop (and Mom) to completely set the stage.
Summer is firmly in charge.
The only way out of a string of tropical 90+ degree days is a storm. Not a gentle shower, but soaking downpours with pet- panicking cracks of thunder and pray-they-miss-the-trees-in-my-yard bolts of lightning. The neighborhood streets turn to small rivers as hard-pan yards struggle to absorb all the rain.
Tomorrow, when the “cold front” has passed and the air drops to more merciful temperatures and dew points, we’ll all say things like, “Wow, how ‘bout that rain yesterday!” and “Yeah, we sure needed it, though.”
Searing dog-days are a Summer Classic, but so is the Noah’s Ark –worthy storm. Ozone-fragranced winds pick up. Buckets of horizontal rain mean we race around the un-air conditioned house closing windows (reluctantly). With each crack of thunder, our greyhound hops up and looks at us to see whether it’s time to run and hide.
We have a window a/c in the bedroom, the sensible airflow design of a 1920 American Foursquare and a large front porch. We take in summer – all of it. Dog days included.
I remember when I was a kid in suburbia, and those earth-shattering thunderstorms would come, our mom would force us out with her to the driveway, to dance in the drenching downpour, splash our feet in the puddles, laugh with each crack of thunder or flash of lightning… and simply glory in this powerful display of nature. We were never struck by lightning. Perhaps it was her private form of rebellion against her mother, who pulled every plug and cowered in darkness at the slightest threat of rain. But I still revel in the wet, hot drenching rain after a “dog day”.