"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

05 August 2005

August Heat

I’ve been researching inheritance issues, thinking of death and taxes all day, and I step out onto the porch to relax. At first I think the shimmering of the air has to do with my eyes adjusting from fine print to distance, but when it doesn’t go away I realize that steam is literally rising from the ground and creating a mist as it mingles with the August heat and humidity. Even Barney, the neighbors' generally extraverted and enthusiastic Schnauzer, can’t find the energy to come all the way across the yard to greet me, merely wagging his tail and nodding a bit as if in apology. The few coreopsis blooms droop on their stems, and the dogwood leaves hang limp and still. The rosebushes look like thorny limbs with a few yellow and brown insect-riddled leaves and matching dead blossoms. A sparrow lands on the porch, no more than three yards from me, and sits lazily despite the gentle rocking of my chair until the rattling of the doorknob above his head rouses him to reluctant and indignant flight. The heaviness of the atmosphere accurately reflects my mood.

Looking further, I see that a rim of light pink clouds circles the sky just above the hazy mountain tops, their pastel color reflected and enhanced in the baby crepe myrtle bravely raising its magenta flowers upwards, with a courageous daylily alongside it encouraging this rebellion against the heaviness and heat. The buzzing of locusts fills the air, reminding me of summer evenings long ago in Kansas, dodging croquet wickets on the lawn while chasing fireflies with my brother in the rapidly dimming light. The heat, the humidity, the numbing pages of depressing information, all fade in the sudden realization of beauty past and present, and I go back to my task with a lighter heart.


Lisa (Froggyhead) said...

Thank you for that. I feel like I was in a rocking chair next to you. A nature break is always helpful. Puts things in perspective.

I love your writing and the thoughts that inspire it. Thanks again.


Fieldfleur said...

Ah, wonderful descriptive stuff. I like your familiarity with flower names (I know them too:0).

Agelessness floats on a summer scent, bringing us back; sweet reminder.


Megan said...

Lovely. I could smell the warm earth and flowers and feel the hazy heat, and i was back in Dayton for a moment. Mrs. Traylor's garden...mist over the foothills...the Grassy Bowl. Sniff. Why do i keep collecting homes? They are too expensive to keep.

Megan said...

P.S. Thanks for commenting about xanga. I knew you "lurked" from time to time, as I'm sure several of your fellow faculty do. It's fun to have The Captain around in plain view, as well.

And--gasp--i didn't put quotes around "Curse the waywayd muse." Um, do i fail for plagiarism?
BTW, i'm looking forward to hearing some riveting freshman English stories... Good memories with Ms. Grauman, Mr. Blalock, the misses Pangel and others.

alaiyo said...

Lisa and Teri, thanks for the kind words. I have to work at descriptive writing, so it always is an encouragement when someone enjoys it!

Megan, you could always try "losing" some of those homes, you know; "the art of losing isn't hard to master." :)(from Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art")

No need for quotes! You are now exempt from freshman comp plagiarism rules and have entered the world where allusion reigns and many writers of integrity do not feel they must always point them out! Hard to believe that class was five years ago; seems like either yesterday or a century! A good one it was.

Blessings to you all,