Ponder this:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I am at the tail end of my second of three summer staycations. All week I have had passing, flitting, flying thoughts of posting. I have been distracted from following any of those thoughts by the unceasing work of sweating. I have followed, instead, breeze and shade all day. The air conditioning in my car has been nonfunctional for two years; when I travel I open all the windows and drive as fast as possible to lower the temperature of the oxygen to a breathable degree. When I water the outdoor potted plants, I water my own arms and legs and air dry. I have depleted the supply of ice in the freezer's automatic icemaker. It has been desperate, I tell you!

The two books I've most recently read included passages about life needing to contain trouble. One was a long soliloquy by an attorney-gone-bad (some would say: Redundant!) in Scott Turow's... (oh now I have to get up and look at the title...) Personal Injuries. The other was in Kent Haruf's Plainsong, in which a female character tells two elderly farmers that she fears they will live all their lives without having enough trouble of the right kind, as she is offering them some of that trouble. I recommend both books. I felt the latter better than the former, the plot and immense cast of which confused me a little. Now I'm reading Jeffrey Lent's A Peculiar Grace, and again with the mention of everybody having their own bad times. Sometimes when I get these messages through my reading, one book after another, I realize it's something that I'm struggling with. I thought I had long ago accepted that into each life a deluge must fall, mountains must crumble and need to be rebuilt from a single pebble, etc.
Perhaps the cosmos is providing a refresher course for me, preparing me for some news. If so, ho hum. Tell me something I don't know.

The deer have been strolling, running, playing in the fields, the baby swallows have left the nest but not yet the barn. They sit in a three-bird row and peep vigorously. Mama and Pop keep a close eye on us if we enter to retrieve a vehicle and if swooping around doesn't chase us off, one or the other will perch next to the babies. I don't like to think what would happen to us if we went closer than we do. MiMau lies in the driveway and lolls, reaching up and swatting, as the watch-guard parents swoop over and dive at her, squeaking and veering off mere inches from her fluffy white belly. 
While checking the vegetable garden one morning I found a skyscraper of a robin's nest with two dead babies nearby. Despite the sturdily built eight-inch deep foundation, the powerful wind knocked it loose from the maple tree. Mother Nature is a very stern parent. Rather than leave the poor corpses on the ground for the dogs to roll in, I picked them up by their limp yellow toes and tucked them in between the two trunks of the maple tree. I threw the nest into the garden. Such a waste, such a shame, for all that construction work to have amounted to nothing. I suppose the bird who built it doesn't even remember now; I doubt she's mourning. But I am, a little.

Early in the spring, or late last winter, Husband threatened two zucchini plants. He planted six. I am keeping pace, but expect to slip behind when I go back to work. Zucchini bread, zucchini pasta sauce, zucchini boats. Remember the "shrimp scene" in Forrest Gump? I feel like that about zucchini.


Rubye Jack said...

Me too. I love zucchini bread the most and keep saying I'm going to bake some.
I would be mourning the robins also. Makes you wonder if life is simply a wsste.

Hildred said...

Lovely post, - I am sorry for your terrible heat and congratulate youon such prodigious reading, in spite of it. I have come to believe the old saying that hardship builds character, and try to accept it with grace. (although I'm not always successful)

rachel said...

Ah, the heady days of the courgette glut on the allotment! When neighbours would hide under their windowsills when they saw us coming with another bagful!

In chilly England, it's hard to imagine being too hot, and almost as hard not to feel slightly envious at times! But I hope it breaks for you soon.

Pauline said...

You capture the somnolence of summer so well. Been in that meltdown heat myself. The early wet and now the mid-summer heat have all but killed my garden. No squash for me this year - how far a walk away are you from here ;)

June said...

Pauline, avoiding highways, mapquest says four hours would get you here from the state line. Up for it? :-p

Friko said...

How much sweat dripped on to your computer when writing this post? Or did you write it sitting in the fridge?

Poor you, I couldn't survive such heat.

A lovely post, as ever lively and intelligent and well-written. Your reading list does you honour. In such temperatures I'd be hard-pressed to read anything that demanded more than cursory attention; an old-fashioned who-dunnit would be all I could cope with.

Linda Myers said...

I suspect the weather up here in the Pacific Northwest - cooler than normal, with some rain even in July - may have blocked good weather from the rest of the country. My apologies.

Plainsong is one of my favorite books ever. Thanks for reminding me.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'd LOVE to feel sweaty .... it's 14 Centigrade here and 11 is forecast for later in the week . Swap?
Still , at least I can happily turn the oven on to roast a zucchini/courgette or two .

Suze said...

I'd seen 'Forrest Gump,' before. Watching the shrimp scene right now, though, made me tear up.

As for the baby birds, the nest, the waste and shame-- not a sparrow falls that He doesn't take notice. I don't write that lightly, dear June.

Anonymous said...

I loved Plainsong too and the sequel (I think there was sequel--I have experienced the heat too and basically brain has expired). I feel for you about teh robins--a few years ago there was a robins' nest under my deck on a beam and something knocked it down.The fledglings were in there, dead and the mother and father robin were nearby watching from the top of posts. I still think of that sometimes. But there's so much beauty too and it's a little cooler today!

Wanda..... said...

I have been meaning to read Kent Haruf's Plainsong, I definitely will now. The heat is keeping me in and my garden in slow mode...no zucchini for me yet!

June said...

Linda, recently I have had one of those "wondering seasons." If it's strictly dust to dust and that's it. And what lives on after. I hope that it ends soon. Thoughts too deep for my emotional spectrum.

Hildred and Charles, thanks for the kudos, but what's easier than sitting in shade, drinking ice water and turning pages, napping at will. :-p

Rachel and S&S, a friend of mine who immigrated to New Jersey in her early teens told me that she fainted regularly due to her difficulty in dealing with the heat and humidity. With assistance from http://www.asknumbers.com/CelsiusToFahrenheitConversion.aspx, I can tell you that I would be desolate at your temperatures at this time of year. It is currently 30C (86F) here, with a breeze blowing across the fields and through my screen porch. To me, this is a perfect summer day. Our overnight low tonight will be about your temperature.

Pauline, I neglected to note that you would have to be walking awfully fast to make it in four hours.

Friko, at writing time I was sitting in front of an open night-time window, freshly showered and gowned. Quite comfortable. I don't like whodunits, although I have a couple started (Death of a Celebrity and Death of) somebody else by whom...MCBeaton...?), so they'd be more effort for me than these musically worded philosophical novels.

Linda, I'm not blaming you. It's good, truthfully, to have a summer like the ones I remember from seven years of age when I spent the days covered in sweat.

Suze, I'd like to believe that, and part of me does. It's just that His methods are . . . like Mother Nature's . . . stern.

Ann, there is a sequel and it is on its way to me from an eBay seller. (she wrote happily)

Wanda, I'm moving slowly as well. I used to try to keep up the cool weather pace when I was nearly blacking out from the heat. I've stopped that now. I move slowly and do less and maintain a higher level of comfort.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello June:
We can almost feel your discomfort in this post and cannot imagine how you are coping with the searing heat which you are experiencing day after day. As you say, at times as extreme as these, it takes all one's efforts to simply be.

We are in agreement with you about Mother Nature. Sometimes her ways are very difficult to understand, particularly when they involve innocent creatures and for whom one always feels so responsible.

Courgette overload is surely on the horizon. We saw a receipt for courgette cake today. If that is not a cry for help, we do not know what is!!

We are so happy to have discovered you via the equally delightful Friko. We are tagging along for the ride!!

June said...

Jane and Lance, delighted to have you!
I do love "courgette" as an alternative to "zucchini." So much more sophisticated and continental to my ear.
Zucchini bread is about the same as carrot cake, thus making zucchini bread as desperate a cry for help as zucchini cake. Slap some cream cheese frosting on them both and you'd never know the difference. It's the cloves and ginger and cinnamon that gives them both their flavor. The veggies are just for moisture.

Pauline said...

I can do a mile in 20 minutes but not in this heat. Or, I could ride my bike which might cut the time in half. Perhaps I should drive... that ought to reduce the time considerably ;)

Barb said...

Though everybody has bad times, you seem to meet yours with a sense of humor and the ability to forge ahead. I'm glad! Your summer sounds too hot for me, June, though the deer and birds are tempting (not so much the zucchini).