Dan took this picture while panting at a stoplight in his un-airconditioned truck last week. Since then, friends have reported seeing thermometers at 102F and even 105F here at 6512 feet.
It’s a dry heat, not unlike living in a sauna. Taking deep breaths is more an exercise in choking than surviving. Large portions of my brain have simply melted. The 60% of my body that is water is actually now iced coffee.
The children have been little Buddhas. I don’t think they’ve actually noticed that we’ve been baking alive.
Driving to the river yesterday, I noticed my gas gauge on empty and let out a word or two that alarmed the children. I explained that we’re now TEN EXTRA MINUTES FROM GETTING TO THE RIVER. “That’s okay Mama,” five year old Sensei-Col assured me. They sat in the inferno-y car, windows rolled down, calmly reading magazines while I grumbled and paced, pumping gas and releasing torrents of sweat by simply blinking.
Walking to the river, Col stopped—in the shade of nothing—to check out yellow jackets buzzing around an irrigation water puddle. “They have their own swimming pool!” He reported cheerily, while the heat bleached my eyeballs and made the world go fuzzy.
We got to the river and everything was okay. Just like that. The water was so deliciously chilly that even sticking my pinky toe in cleansed the whole past week of walking around with a wet washcloth on my head.
Col, who operates under the premise that there’s always something to do, spent the first 15 minutes scurrying purposefully under the brush, finding: 2 large sticks, a broken pipe which he filled with tiny rocks, and 2 feathers. Meanwhile, Rose, who is apprentice to the sensory delights, engaged in the pure pleasure of wild water.
I failed again at equanimity because all my refreshed elatedness got traded for sour grapes upon belting myself back into the 500 degree car. But the kids, those glorious kids, rolled in sand like a breaded chicken breast, were singing in the backseat “we’re river people now, aren’t we Mama?”
Our friend Cody came over Friday morning to borrow a coyote skull (and a cup of sugar, two eggs and…) for his science camp and before I had even placed wet washcloth #7 upon noggin, he said: “it’s another beautiful day out there!” I swallowed my first Eeyore-ish response and realized in a weird, freakishly perspiring way, he was right. In winter, when life is lived inside, I will wistfully remember splashing in the river and drinking a nut brown ale outside, in the sweaty shade of our apple tree. I will remember my children’s sun-glistening bodies and how the winter squash reached triumphantly for the sky:
And how the lettuce hid from the heat under the shadows of sunflowers:
I will remember going to the mountains where the summer temperature is always lovely when surrounded by columbines, bluebells and larkspur taller than our children’s heads.
And I will remember that it was all good, with a side of iced coffee.