photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some Like It Hot

Like me. I love summertime. Not that pseudo-summertime north of the Mason-Dixon line- summers of tank top afternoons and jacketed nights and mornings- that's Sissy Summer, Faux Summer, Summer-Lite.

It's June 1st and 100 degrees out on the porch. In the shade. Inside it's a very comfortable 85- we have no central air conditioning. The box fans hum in the windows, drawing in shaded air from the porches. The ceiling fans whirr and move the air along its path rising up, across and out the gable windows at either end of the house.

Our habits change with the weather, like the tiny particles of Nature that we are. Working in the cool of the morning and evening, quiet chores in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

Even our digestive tracts crave something different- lighter, fresher, quicker meals- more snacks than formal dinners- replace the quilt-heavy comfort foods of winter.

The cement floor is cool on my bare feet, the breeze warm but not stifling. Everything inside me slows- breathing, heartbeat, thoughts.

The air is not the cold, clammy, mold-ridden air from a machine. It flows through our home carrying the song of the birds, the insectal whine of a billion busy bugs, the scent of melting pines.

As I type, a hummingbird zooms in and out, now drinking from the feeder outside my window, now suspended in mid-air right in front of me. Looking through the glass and into the sun it was difficult to identify him the first few days. He hovers now less than a yard from my be-speckled bi-focaled eyes and glares at me from under feathered brows- "See??? Ruby throat- do I have to write it down for you?"

Hummingbirds are such assholes.

The dogs are deflated on the floor, spreading themselves paper-thin so every cell comes into contact with the cement.

A single blossom from our gardenia bush floats in a ceramic egg cup that was Ward's mom's, spicy, floral, I close my eyes and am back at my grandparent's house in Miami- Old Miami where the houses were cool stucco outside and louvered windows on the inside. Palm trees arched over the canal, lizards scurried frantically everywhere, then froze for no apparent reason, red throat flaps flagging real or imagined danger..

I planted that bush years ago at the old house- the 3rd attempt at getting a gardenia to grow. The first 2 I planted with great care and fertilized religiously. By the third one my heart had mostly given up- I stuck it in a mixture of road gravel and red clay next to the swing set. It flourished.

When we bought this land I transplanted it- stuck it in a mixture of rocks and red clay behind where I envisioned the house day. It's tripled in size.

Right this minute I'm comfortable- gauze skirt and tank top, bare feet from April through November- I'm in my Comfort Zone, literally.

The sun has dropped below the huge cedars on the west side of the house, and I can feel it cooling, tiny bit by tiny bit- one sweated drop on the side of an iced tea glass at a time.

We'll go to bed on top of the sheets, next to each other but not touching. We'll talk some, and laugh some, and doze off warm and companionable, our hearts intertwined always, whether or not we physically meet.

Tonight the box fans will pull the cool air from the spring fed creek into the windows along with the chorus of the frogs, crickets and our ever-present lone whippoorwill, and by morning we'll be under light covers, instinctively turning towards each other for warmth, and comfort, and love.

We'll rise to an almost chilly-feeling 72 degrees, and begin again the rhythm of another day- kiss, coffee, family, work, Home.

Summertime in East Texas- my favorite season.

Until Autumn. And Winter. And Spring.