Friday, August 17, 2012

Old Summer

Whispering lights, vapor trails, gleams on glass and chrome. Walking outdoors is walking into a heavy fabric of quilted air and heat: summer has finally come, even to the Northwest.

But it's old summer, already pregnant with Fall. I can wake at first light, and still have gotten enough sleep. The sun can pound down on us all it likes: it can't alter the fact that September is only two weeks away. My spirits lift, as always, at the first intimations of Fall. Almost always, when we're driving home from our annual beach trip (which is coming up soon!) we'll see a few branches of vine maple going red up in the Coast Range. The rains will come, sooner or later, the mists and the cloudlight. Weather this hot can fill me with dread, if it comes in June, but it can't scare me now. I can even enjoy it, in a perverse way, and guess at how people who actually like this weather experience it. The heat soaks in, all the way to the bones. My body sits a little looser on me, like my clothes after I've lost weight.

I have a suspicion that my new-found tolerance for heat, in the past few years, has to do with being more fit. I spend much more of my life up and about, cycling and doing massage and what not, these days. My tolerance for standing around has also gone way up. I used to hate it: I think just because it was somewhat difficult for me. My heart didn't like pumping that hard. It wasn't used to it. I think the heat used to push me that way too.

Or – it could have to do with having air-conditioning in our new house, a voluptuous by-product of our virtuous installation of a heat-pump. We have not used it much. But just knowing that we could makes it possible to shrug and scoff at the sun. (I've never lived with air-conditioning before. An amazing luxury; a guilty pleasure.)

In any case, I find that I don't hate the summer as I used to, not at all. Of course, summers go by a lot faster than they used to, too; seasons ripple by at about the rate of weeks, when I was a teenager – or days, when I was a kid. Every time I look up it seems that we're entering into the pleasures of a new season: I don't have time to get tired of any of them.


Anne said...

And as you get older it gets that way with years, then decades then... .

marly youmans said...

Heat-pump air conditioning is good--just don't let the chipmunks store their seeds under the house. Our Chapel Hill a/c quit working, and it was dratted chippers at work.

I did read an elaborate scientific explanation for why time speeds up as we grow older; however, my brain jettisoned the explanation. Ah, yes, time speeding up, brain slowing down...

I think fall light started about five days ago here. It is so mild and muted.