I need some cooling visions to survive today’s heat and humidity. Though last winter seemed so endless that even skiers and lovers of snow globe landscapes grew weary, I know some staunch advocates of steamy weather who at last have begun to have a tinge of nostalgia for last January, though they’d never admit it publically.
To stave off the heat, I’m checking out some photos I took half a year ago when ice was as hard as concrete and winds pierced the armor of even the thickest coat. Remember those snows so deep that not only fire hydrants and small children, but full sized automobiles got lost? I think I feel a chill already.
August first is the dead of summer. It might as well be the fulcrum of the season, poised at about the midpoint of the hot weeks. Perhaps it’s impolitic or politically incorrect, and I’m certainly not going to win any friends among beach goers, golfers, bass fishers and sun worshippers, but I’d sell July and August awfully cheap if I could find a buyer. When the thermometer creeps into the 90s and the air thickens with moisture, my energy dissipates and my mind turns to sludge. Sometimes I think that if it wasn’t for tomatoes and baseball the whole time of year might be useless.
Of course, the heat causes my mind to engage in a bit of hyperbole. One of the joys of living in New England is the changing seasons. Without having to travel, we get a taste of the tropics and the arctic. In between we bask in the glories of spring and fall whose more temperate wonders could last forever without the slightest risk of boredom. And even I love more things about summer than I can count on my fingers and toes. But when it gets real hot, I seem to forget what they are.
I admit I’m whining a bit, but grumbling about the weather is an old New England tradition. “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” nineteenth century Hartford Courant editor Charles Dudley Warner is alleged to have said. Perhaps I should be satisfied knowing that a good, hot summer sharpens our appetite for the crisp days of fall and the stark frozen beauty of winter.
Weather is as much a marker of place as mountain ranges, seashore or the skyline of cities, yet it is largely intangible and ephemeral. In this part of the world perhaps we’re blessed with a bit too much of it. While living in Connecticut, Mark Twain said he counted 136 different kinds of weather on a single spring day.
Okay, so there are probably lots of good things about a blistering August day, and I admit last winter with its deep snow and fang-toothed icicles might have overstayed its welcome a bit. Regardless, as the temperature and dew point rise this afternoon, I’m chilling out with some visions of last February. But if gazing longingly at photos doesn’t work, there is a natural remedy for all this heat. I think it’s called October.