July 1st, 2005

bazille_summer scene

Second Half

The lazy crescent moon doesn't clear the tall pines until the sky has already begun to turn deep blue. Dawn will swiftly follow, bringing another day as hot as yesterday. The entire holiday weekend will be scorching. What nation in its right mind declares independence in July? This is no time of year for lively celebrations. This is a time to move about as little as possible. But some local residents (kids, most likely), disagree. Last evening they got a head start on their partying by driving about the town and tossing strings of (illegal) firecrackers and single cherry bombs of assorted sizes from their car. I heard the pops and cracks and booms from one quarter or another for about twenty minutes.

Someone in the neighborhood also had a late barbecue, and used too much lighter fluid on their charcoal. The acrid odor at first made me think that one of the strings of firecrackers had set a parked car afire. Later, the smell of roasting flesh told me that it was merely the work of a very bad cook. I, naturally, much prefer the smell of the jasmine. It is nearing the end of its supply of perfume, I suspect. It was less intense tonight, though it may simply have been overpowered by the smell of charcoal and lighter fluid which, even now, faintly lingers. July is a wretched month in which to be trapped among the suburbanites.

Now that the sun is about to poke over the horizon, I see a lovely streak of feathery cirrus clouds hovering overhead, flushing pink. In a few minutes, the tips of the ponderosas across the street will kindle with sunlight. Though loath to turn off the fan, it is nearly time for me to close both windows and drapes, defending from day's onslaught what coolness of night the house has managed to gather. Ah, just let me get through the next two months without having heat stroke!


I forgot to make iced tea again, so I'm drinking beer instead. It's Sierra Nevada's Summerfest, a nice, piss-colored lager that's only available this time of year. Most of the year I only drink their porter, which is so dense that it qualifies as a separate course at dinner. The Summerfest is much lighter, and has a nice, tangy flavor suitable to the season. It's one of the few beers I'm willing to drink by itself. The beer's local popularity, and the fact that the brewery is only a dozen miles away guarantees freshness, too, and it's about two bucks a six pack cheaper here than it is anywhere farther away. Despite all this, and the fact that I'm enjoying it, I wish I'd remembered to make the iced tea.

No relief from the heat is in sight. Summer looms ahead like a perilous desert that must be crossed. Enraptured, I'm bound to follow a misleading path to some mirage and end up being swallowed by quicksand. I'd rather be sailing. Better to be lured by a siren's song and crash on the rocks than to suffocate in a dessicated symbol of passing time.

In the last hour, everyone in the house has sustained multiple mosquito bites. I expect that West Nile Virus will kill us all now. Maybe I ought to finish off that six pack before the symptoms set in.