OtterSummer 8.41-Break

break
The longest hot spell in anyone’s memory broke yesterday, flooding this wilted landscape with cool, drier air—also known more simply as air. I hadn’t taken a clean breath in weeks. Nobody had stepped outside without receiving a humiliating, humid slap. The air conditioning, wounded and throwing off eight or nine gallons of water a day, churned twenty four/ seven until yesterday when I shut down the whole system.

The house went quiet. So, too, the incessant hum in my head. Even my sinuses cleared. I opened windows to air out the place, which means I was finally letting some fresh air inside. I told The Grand Otter to open her windows, too, I was turning off the artificial ventilation. We’d been living as its prisoner and prime beneficiary in self-sealing symbiosis since we brought The Otter back with us from the Midwest. Without that artificial atmosphere, nobody could summer here.

I believe that necessary artifice displaces something essential, like deep dives displace gasses in the blood. The condition of survival here seems to be that I cannot be whole or wholly my self, but must submit to depending upon life-inhibiting life support, and this essential contradiction wears me down like it wears down The Grand Otter and The Muse, too. We cannot be ourselves if we are to survive. We cannot just jump up and go somewhere. We must plan each spontaneous spacewalk well beforehand, and we choose to forego most of them, if only to avoid the hassle.

The Otter was up early yesterday and we ... gulp ... agreed to go out. In the car, I rolled down all the windows. Once parked, we regretted that we’d have to go back inside to watch the movie. Back out again after, we stayed outside. Back home, I opened the portcullis to the back yard and fired up the grill, displacing screen rather than double-glazed sliding door on my scurries in and out.

Breaks in the weather glue back together what cruel heat and inhuman humidity have torn asunder. At least with mid-winter cabin fever, a fireplace or flickering candle light might leave somebody feeling whole. Summertime cabin fever leaves us as dependent as bubble babies with little respite except isolating novels, pseudo-social Facebook, and a late supper after the vicious sun’s retreated, inside where the mosquitos won’t gnaw. That endless numbing hum swipes our best selves, leaving the rest nullified. Just try to carry on a coherent conversation or collect your thoughts in air conditioned discomfort. Do not, under any circumstances, try going without until the weather breaks.

We will have a scant few days between wet blanket warm fronts, now, near the end of this OtterSummer. The weeks we were counting have devolved into days. We are grateful that these days finally seem capable of delivering what homeland summers promise: long walks, quiet talks, and wide open windows.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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