Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hot summer rain

The mist in this picture rises from the railroad tracks just across from our house. A swift, hard summer rain came along and cooled off the afternoon for just a few minutes, and for that amount of time, I thought perhaps the broken air conditioner wouldn't be so bad. I thought maybe the rain would cool the world. I danced around in that rain -- because I really do dance in the rain, still, even though I'm middle-aged and frumpy little old ladies aren't supposed to play in the rain -- but it didn't last long enough to really cool off the world. Within seconds of the cessation of fat droplets, the mist rose from the railroad tracks, roads, and roofs, and turned the town into a sauna.

Yes, it's pretty. Yes, I will always remember it, even if I hadn't snapped a quick photo of it. But it's still miserably hot in the house. Now, at almost 3:00 in the morning, the thermostat stands stubborn at 85 degrees.

When I was a child, we lived in a huge, old house in Georgia. That house had no central air. The heater was a frightening oil furnace that burned real flame and made me think that monsters really existed. The only air conditioner in the whole house was a window unit in the sun porch, a room we called the "brick-floored room." At night, the rest of the house was very, very hot, and we kept our windows open and box fans blowing. We could still hear the night sounds -- the crickets, the frogs, the occasional barking dog or hoot owl -- and the warm air would push across us in our beds, covered only with sheets and our thin summer nightgowns.

Later, when I started going to camp in the mountains of North Georgia, I found out how much cooler the night air is up there. I was so cold, and so skinny, when I was a counselor, if I had to be out after dark, I wore jeans and sweatshirts to keep warm. The mornings were so cool that I wore the same uniform to breakfast, and the days didn't get hot until the sun burned through the mountain air and made us all change to shorts.

Right now, at this minute, I am in an agony of longing for those cold mountain nights. No owl is calling; no frogs are singing; all of humanity and nature are so hot that we can't make a sound for fear the vibrations in the air will cause friction and heat it even more. I don't know how I will sleep; I don't know how I can sleep in this hot soup atmosphere. The air is so thick with heat and humidity, I can hardly breathe.

Yes, it's pretty. Of course I still love the South. But oh, I wish my air conditioner were already fixed. If this continues another day, I'll have to check into a motel just to get some rest.


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