It is oppressively hot and humid. There is nothing to do about it but to slow down and give into the heat. Even if I had air conditioning, it would take many more sweltering days to get me to crank it up. I don't like spending money on air, whether hot or cold. I never thought of writing as an aerobic sport, but there you have it--I'm sitting here on towels to soak up the sweat. The New York Times is making its best efforts to be annoyingly cute about the heat. To wit: the "good side" includes girls wearing less clothing, raccoon infestations in Central Park solved: the poor animals will simply combust. Ugh. What heat addled brain cooked that one up? Why would a serious news organization bother with such drivel? There simply isn't a good side. Plants, animals, and people are frying. More and more coal is burned every time the air needs conditioning. Tempers are fraying. And I'm getting a heavy-hearted case of Global Warming Anxiety.
It isn't about the weather--until it is. It's about the inexorable change in weather patterns. Not twenty years ago, early July on the coast of Rhode Island reliably meant sweaters during the day and evenings at the hearth in front of a fire. If I dipped a knee in the ocean I felt brave. Today, by noon I've gone into the sea twice, immersing myself to cool off. The heat doesn't break. I'm eating whatever is in the fridge; there isn't a remote possibility that I'm turning on the stove.
I finally remember the garden hose trick--as a child, I used to run through the water my father was aiming at his plants. So I try it again, holding the hose above my head, letting the cold water run down over me. Within seconds I am gasping for breath, a child again, spluttering as water splashes up my nose, laughing as it hits my belly, plastering my hair to my back. I marvel at the miracle of drawing icy water from a deep well with the turn of a spigot.
And I wonder, too, what the future holds for us as our climate changes, all over the world, relentlessly, irrevocably, warming things up. When will we realize that we are going to get to the point where we can't stand the heat? And we won't have a chance to get out of the kitchen. There will be nowhere to go. Let's hear it for clean, green energy, asap.