Both inspired and intimidated by Beau’s dispatches from the Appalachian Trail, I’m trying to get back into blogging by remembering to find some small significance in my own journeys. Not that I’m really getting anywhere, but every once in a while I guess I ought to pretend.
To every thing, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under OH MY GOD TURN ON THE AC.
Yep: summer. It’s not exactly a sudden transition, but a series of changes that become more and more drastic, more and more frequently: The relief of coming inside to the AC, even before you realized you were uncomfortable; the sudden afternoon storm; the reappearance of massive car-movers parked in the center lane along the key, taking people’s Jags and Beamers back to their homes up North.
What feel like the BLAM: SUMMER’S DEFINITELY HERE moments—the smack-you-in-the-face morning-time heat; the “I’ll just have lunch delivered, thank you” afternoons huddled indoors and painful, grump-inducing, oven-stuffed commutes home that end with you in a crumpled, naked heap on the couch the moment you can get in the door and strip (…what? Just me?)—have thus far been offset by still-pleasant moments, including this past week’s surprise 70-degree weather and less-than-washcloth humidity.
But we all know those temperate moments are numbered.
Still, there are things to be said for summer—though “relentless, oppressive sunshine” remains one of my favorite self-coined phrases, and a lot of summer’s benefits involve…well…avoiding summer.
This is the time of year for maximum Gulf-diving anticipation, when there’s zero cold-water hesitancy, because you know the waves will only be about 15 degrees cooler than the air—ie perfect.
And this is the time of year when, even if your car’s AC keeps acting up (thus the grump-inducing commutes), you still have four hours of post-work daylight to take advantage of the Gulf’s bathtub waters.
And this is the time of year when barbecues and baseball games invite you to suffer–but happily so–through the weather, stuffing your face and sweating and laughing, only to discover beautiful clouds, a cool breeze and a wonderful evening on the other side.
And this is the time of year when things turn inward. Indoors, of course, but also the metaphorical equivalent—switching from an obligation for appreciating the whole, big, beautiful world to an awareness of beautiful, closed-in quietude.
I like a nice dark bar with just enough windows to show how blindingly bright it is outside. I like the feeling of sanctuary. Relieved survival. And I like emerging with a buzz into the still-warm humid night: There’s a smell that occurs only when the day has been tempered in the heat and wetness and then plunged into darkness, and it’s most noticeable when you spend a few hours talking about other things, dulling your neuroses and breathing sweet, chemically cooled air through your nostrils.
If you do it right, summer brings things back to scale.