The last time it rained nearly every single day was back in… damn, I can’t remember it raining nearly every day before. It’s not like the rain is coming down in buckets or even enough to fill the pond, but it is coming and if nothing else I’m not having to water the tomatoes. I’m not watering the grass either, but mowing it has become a hobby all of a sudden. The one year I decide to push the weeds and the vines back into the woods is the year the rain get stuck in the “on” position and doesn’t stop.
Summer in South Georgia has been known to last until October and sometimes until a few days after Christmas. It would seem the last two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September ought to be a month unto themselves. They seem to blend into one another seamlessly and any hope of relief from triple digit heat doesn’t isn’t on the menu really. Do not look for Summer to end until the last part of September for those of you who are truly optimistic and the pessimist buys a new ceiling fan right before Thanksgiving. This isn’t anything new at all. If climate change makes South Georgia hotter it isn’t like we haven’t seen it before.
But the rain is something a little new. Back in the late 90’s all my grass died and I didn’t crank the mower up at all one Summer. The mosquitoes are really bad this year and going outside means wearing pure DEET or a tourniquet . The mosquitoes are as bad as they have ever been and there are those who claim they will get worse if the world warms up. That is one truly sobering thought. We’re going to start losing horses to mosquitoes if this keeps up and as I pointed out, we might be three or four months away from cooler weather.
Yet even in the heat nature balances out; there are more lizards this year and more dragonflies. For all their hell and torture, mosquitoes are quite yummy to about a thousand different species. It is damn inconvenient to us to be lunch for a billion mosquitoes but at the same time we do as much damage as we can to those species whose main occupation on life is to eat the mosquitoes. We poison dragonfly larvae, destroy the habitat of barn swallows and most human beings rather pet Charles Manson than let a bat live anywhere near them. This is the first year of my adult life I have ever bought a spray with chemicals in it to kill mosquitoes and I wouldn’t have done than but there is someone here whose blood is dear.
And the heat rocks on. This morning after a couple of hours of trying to tame the vines I was worn out. The humidity climbed up faster than the temperature and by ten in the morning it felt like someone has lit a bonfire in a sauna. There isn’t any way to combat this and still do yardwork. Swear was pouring off my body but it wasn’t going anywhere at all. There was as much moisture in the air as I was wearing so the sweat wasn’t cooling me off. The sweat turned sticky so it was like wearing warm dishwater that wasn’t lemon freshened with borax. The human body cannot take but so much heat and I had reached mine after a couple of hours and a few miles of vines. Working outside past midday is a great way to get used to the heat provided it doesn’t kill you outright.
I did that a month ago, you know. I got out with an axe and flailed away at some Oak wood and did quite well if you count lying on the floor panting as doing well. The dogs lie on the floor and pant and they’re cute so does that work for me, too? I don’t think beauty is always in the eye of the beholder but when a man strips down and lies on the floor with a bottle of water on his head it is never pretty, you know. If the bottle of water is placed anywhere else then you start to lose an audience in readership who never wants that image in their minds, ever. What is imagined can never be unimagined.
Two months and two days have to go by before October gets here. There is nothing at all to be done for it except ride all of this out. August has a reputation for being hellish and it is earned. Things burn in August and storms are spawned in August and the Summer never ends in August. This is a month where things that are already going terribly wrong go horribly worse. This is the month where a region gripped in heat discovers there is still some room at the top of the thermometer. This is when we discover that proximity to the end of the calendar Summer means nothing at all to August or September or… you get the picture don’t you?
Have you ever noticed I always capitalize the word “Summer”? My spell check tells me I am not supposed to do this but I know more words than my spell check. You should, too, by the way. If there is a day of your life that passes without you teaching your computer a new word you aren’t writing nearly enough or you are writing far too much, but I digress. Summer is the capitalized Gods of Seasons down here in The South. Here we have four seasons just like everyone else but we have hunting season, Christmas, NASCAR and Summer. For the record I do not hunt, watch cars go in circles, or shop.
You have to admire a time of year that can and will kill you. Summer can and if you let it then it will kill you. But there are the rains and there are tomatoes and there are reasons to survive it all.