Summer came early this year, with a suddenness that took my breath away–and replaced it with steam. Thick, humid, steam fills my lungs with every inhale, and like a steam engine I chug along through the sticky summer days and nights, months before the summer solstice. Thank you, Ohio, for the warm welcome.
Late May days of my childhood were always approached with anticipation of the beachy sunshine and balmy temps promised by the Memorial Day sale ads on TV, but were all-too-often realized with sharp, biting rain as I bravely marched with the scouts in the Memorial Day parade in my defiant shorts. However this year, weeks before the long Memorial Day weekend we were greeted with July-like weather: temperatures in the 80s and humidity well above. In Northern California, summer weather often flirted with me as distant a month as February, and I naively took this Ohio early warming as a similar flirtation. But this was no quick caress–this weather has become a clingy, sweaty lover whose cuddles and nuzzles have long overstayed their welcome, all the way into legitimate summer territory. The steam is here to stay.
And so I find myself walking through the dense air in the two blocks from the grocery store to my home, fighting the urge to practice my breaststroke in order to propel my body forward. The air is heavy with … something. Water? Perhaps, though it seems to have taken a form that is neither liquid nor gas nor solid, but something akin to an ionic charge. It seems impossible that my body courses through this substance without evoking little static bolts as it shifts and alters the particles. Butterflies flutter a little less fleetingly from bloom to bloom, and I wonder at their ability to move their wings at all through the soupy summer air. It is the very portrait of (literal) oppression.
For better or for worse, the heat and humidity have inspired me return to my blog. Maybe it’s the slow bopping Gershwin-esque melodies of tree frogs and crickets in chorus or the gentle lilting lightshow of the lightning bugs their song accompanies. Whatever the source of the inspiration, here’s hoping the urge to write remains after the heat subsides.