It’s not that I don’t appreciate summer: I do. I love it deeply, from the first rich flush of hawthorn blossoms to the last fading mauves of August heather. I love the green and the growing, the treasures of the hedgerows, and the always astonishing abundance of the land which surrounds me. It’s just that I love autumn and winter more. Something opens up in me then – something soft and deep and glowing – which is far too shy to expose itself to the inexhaustible light of summer.
~ Sharon Blackie, The Enchanted Life
I know some of you who are just exiting winter probably don’t want to be reminded of it again (not yet, anyhow), but we are in the midst of our first heatwave of the season and I could use a little cooling off. This cool down takes us back just a couple of months, when we were nearing the end of April. It also takes us to Northeast Ohio because that’s where I was was at the time, cheerfully playing in and photographing the snow that only lasted a day. Not many of the pictures made it to the blog so I figure now is as good a time as any, and playing with snow photos might trick my mind into thinking it’s cooler.
The heat here isn’t nearly as bad as I’ve heard it is elsewhere. We’re in the low 90’s and will likely stay that way for a few more days (or weeks or months… our weather prognosticators are never particularly good at predicting summer temperatures). What is surprising is to find that places farther north, such as the Dakotas and Minnesota, were suffering with higher temperatures than we have here. I don’t know why I’m surprised. The world is heating up, isn’t it? We’re expected to have above-average temperatures throughout the summer.
Our local weather guy finally admitted something I’ve suspected for a while. They really don’t know what average looks like anymore. That’s the nature of change. It makes it more difficult to predict. However. Before I go off on a tangent about climate change, how about some good news? I read this article recently: How Returning Lands to Native is Helping Protect Nature. It’s kind of a long read but well worth your time if you have concerns about climate change and social justice. It gives me hope and one of those hopes is that we see more of this in the future.
Over the weekend, M and I watched a few films, caught up on some reading, did some early morning gardening, and tried our best to stay cool without running up the electric bill. The pool is open. The water is a rather vivid shade of emerald green. It’s not supposed to be that color, but it happens every year when we open the pool. It takes us a few weeks to get it clear and balanced and as it should be. When we had the pool installed (it’s an above ground), we decided not to go with chlorine. We use Baquacil products instead. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get everything Just Right with Baquacil, but it’s easier on the skin and swimsuits.
Part of the problem with the water in the pool is that our water contains both copper and iron. The minerals can tint the pool water amazing shades of green. We’ve had it tested. There’s nothing unsafe about swimming in it. So, I dip my toes and legs in during this warm-up period. The water temperature is about 70°F. Not quite warm enough for me. M, on the other hand, plunges right in. Given the heatwave, it will probably be close to bathwater temperatures within a week.
The films we watched over the weekend were Closer (from 2004) and Nomadland (2020). Closer won a few awards back in the day (Academy awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Clive Owen and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Natalie Portman). I liked Nomadland far more than Closer although the latter was not a bad movie. Not at all. I suppose it’s a lot like comparing apples with lemons because they are so different, especially in subject matter.
Have you seen Nomadland? I’d like to read the book, now that I’ve watched the film. I highly recommend the movie. It is another good example of how our culture not only fails to honor elders, but makes them part of the invisible (through the invisible work force that many tend to take for granted).
I am still reading the book Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser. I’m about halfway through and will likely speed read my way through the rest of it. It hasn’t offered me anything new in terms of healthy aging (I mean “healthy” in a holistic way and on all levels) that I haven’t already heard through various outlets. There is a lot of (white) privilege throughout the book. There is an assumption, at least so far, that you will have the means to be a happy and well-adjusted old person if only you do certain things. This seems to ignore how we are all one catastrophic illness or case of dementia away from bankruptcy. I also found the use of 50-year-old folks in stories about getting “old” to be mildly annoying (for instance, a woman who just turned 53 is quoted as saying, “I love growing old!”). I enjoyed my 50’s, too. That’s not old. (Now that I read this — grumble, grouch, grumble — I realize that I sound like an old crank, exactly what I’m trying to avoid.)
One of the other books I am currently reading is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It’s an incredible novel. I’m almost finished with it. If you haven’t read it, perhaps you’ll want to have a look at it or put it on your reading list.
That’s about all the news from the ranch on this scorcher of a Monday. Thank you so much for joining me on another meander and a bit of time traveling. Sunset this evening is scheduled for 8:24 PM and I’m of two minds when it comes to whether or not I’ll go out to watch it. If it’s windy enough, I will go to the Point. You’re welcome to join me there. Without the wind, the bugs will be awful, the heat will be oppressive, and it’s probably best to watch from the back porch where at least there are screens to keep the insects out and a ceiling fan to cool us off a little.
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,796) Looking at snow on a hot and humid day. 1,797) I hate to say it but… air conditioning. I don’t think I could make it through the heat without it. 1,798) A new bird visiting the ranch. I don’t know who or what it is, but I don’t recognize his/her song. I am reminded that I’d like to learn how to identify birds by sound/song. 1,799) Friends who think of me when they’re getting rid of something I need. If you’re reading, thank you, thank you, thank you. 1,800) A tall, icy glass of lemon-ginger tea.