Normally, August is one of the hottest months of the year. It’s typically the month when your lawn dries out and finally gives up the ghost, and you squirm with embarrassment when your neighbors arch an eyebrow at the carpet of brownness.
Not this year, though. We’re in the midst of the wettest August I can remember, where you need to carry your umbrella every day just in case another gullywasher is going to roll through town. We had a big cloudburst this afternoon, and another one tonight. It’s as if August and April traded places.
The lawn seems to be enjoying it, though. What’s next? August mushrooms?
This summer I have a simple, straightforward goal. I’m not trying to lose 50 pounds, or develop six-pack abs, or write the Great American Novel. No, my sights are set much lower, at something that is at least reasonably attainable: I want to wear my sunglasses as often as I possibly can.
Some years ago, when I bought a new pair of regular glasses, I got this pair of retro sunglasses for a reduced price. However, I’ve never really worn them much. I think it’s because I’ve never gotten in the habit of wearing sunglasses at all. I’ve always worn prescription glasses, and back in the old days if you did your only option was to wear the kind of shades that clipped on to your regular glasses. That was too nerdy for me, so I swore off sunglasses. As a result, even when I got these prescription jobs that address the near-sightedness issue, I just never thought of wearing them.
But earlier this year I resolved that I should start wearing the sunglasses, and I’ve realized I really like it. For one things, the dark lenses hide the unseemly bags and wrinkles surrounding my aging eyes. For another, the sunglasses make me think I look stylish, even if that is a laughable proposition. And wearing the sunglasses on hot days somehow makes me feel cooler, temperature-wise. I know that can’t possibly be true in an objective sense, because obviously eyewear doesn’t reduce the ambient temperature or minimize the harshness of the sun’s rays, but wearing the shades gives me that feeling just the same — and I like it.
Already this year, I’m confident that I’ve worn my sunglasses more than I have in all of the years I’ve had them, combined. I feel a certain sense of accomplishment, but I also feel like I’m in more of a summer mood. Amazing what a pair of sunglasses can accomplish!
It’s been beastly hot in Columbus over the past few weeks, with temperatures in the 90s and very little rain. You might aptly describe the weather as broiling — but that’s July in Ohio for you.
We’ve been gone for a few days during this torrid period. That’s been good for us, because we were enjoying much cooler weather, but for the plants in our front flower pots? Not so much. When I got home they were dried out and teetering on the edge of death. I’ve been watering them in the morning and again at night in hopes of saving them and am seeing some hopeful green signs, but it’s obvious the hot weather combined with lack of watering knocked them for a severe loop. The flowers and plants in our beds, on the other hand, seem to have survived the hot dry weather just fine.
It makes me question whether having flower pots during a midwestern summer makes any sense at all — unless you are going to be around on a daily basis to water them. Since we’re on the road regularly, I’m thinking that next year we might forgo the cruelty to the poor potted plants and the guilt that comes from seeing desiccated brown leaves.
We’re out at the Omni resort in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego, for meetings. It’s a pretty place, with lots of flowers, fountains, and the Palm Promenade walkway. The most amazing thing about the place from my perspective, however, is the weather — which is astonishingly temperate and mild. We’ve got broiling temperatures in the 90s in Columbus, but the temperature here is around 70, with a gentle breeze, too.
You could get used to it.
The daytime temperature in Las Vegas these days is topping out at around 100 degrees. That’s ludicrously hot, even by mad dogs and Englishmen standards. So, how to lure the crowds staggering from one casino to another to stop at an outdoor cafe for an aperitif? The entrepreneurial proprietors at some spots offer a refreshing mist, the better to cool your fevered brow and stimulate your thirst.
How is that working, you ask? Well, no one was sitting at this outdoor cabaret, even though the misters were firing at full throttle. It turns out that, after the initial cooling sensation, the misters just leave you feeling a bit soggy — and it still is 100 degrees outside.
A powerful set of rainstorms rolled over our neighborhood overnight, leaving the ground wet and the air with that light, crisp, delectable, freshly washed feel. Taking deep whiffs of the air the morning after a Midwestern summer storm is like crawling into a bed made with freshly laundered sheets.
I poured myself a cup of coffee, from beans just ground by Stauf’s, and padded out onto our back porch, where the neighborhood birds were putting on a musical performance, free to anyone who cared to listen.
Sunday morning is a good time to drink a fine cup of coffee and listen to the birds. There’s no traffic on Third to increase the level of background noise, and you can hear the different birds, with their different, melodic calls, distinctly. It is so quiet and peaceful that you can hear the chirps and songs of birds in the distance, answering the calls of their brethren, and when the birds take a brief break, the absolute stillness feels deep and almost palpable.
The birds put on a pretty good show.
Our house on Short Hills Drive in Bath, Ohio had an asphalt driveway. The driveway ran up a small hill, took a right turn to the garage, and had a big open area at the top of the hill where Mom and Dad had put up a basketball hoop.
On blistering summer days, the sun would heat the asphalt, and you could catch a whiff of tar and feel the heat radiating off the black surface. On those days I liked to walk barefoot on the driveway, to take in the smell and the scorching heat and see how long my feet could stand it. It’s one of those things that will always mean “summer” to me.
I was reminded of this today as I was out walking to do a few errands. It was hot and the sun was shining brightly. As I walked I passed a freshly paved asphalt parking lot, smelled that smell, and felt that heat, and the sensory experiences brought it all back. I started to think about how much I enjoyed walking barefoot on hot asphalt, and how I hadn’t done it in years. So when I got closer to home, and I passed an empty parking lot that was ablaze in the sunshine, I couldn’t resist. I took off my sneakers and socks and set out across the lot, feeling the burn on the soles of my feet.
My feet aren’t as tough and calloused as they used to be, and after a few laps around the tarry surface I was ready to step off and put my shoes back on. But my little barefoot exercise felt good. In fact, it felt exactly like summer.