It’s 72 degrees when I get up, or rather when Lucas and Lilith get me up, at four-thirty. Lucas wants to be petted, Lilith wants to cuddle, Sam is still asleep, and it will be a very long day before I can sit down and write what you are now reading. But I knew that coming into the day, no, not the part about the L Hounds waking me fifteen minutes early, but I knew it was going to be a very long day. It’s going to be ninety-seven today and there won’t be much of a chance of even the slightest breeze.
Ninety-seven isn’t the worst I’ve seen in my life but it’s the hottest it has been this year, and it is still two days before Summer really begins. I’ve worked in hot weather most of my life and believe it or not, hot is a state of mind, as long as you’re smart about it. Most people aren’t smart about it at all. But then again, most people are trying to avoid the heat. I’ve put myself directly in its path.
The sun begins to heat clothing up by ten. Stay in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes and suddenly your jeans feel very hot. Metal tools left in the sun feel warm to the touch. The humidity begins to really kick in and suddenly it’s not only uncomfortable out there it’s downright hot.
At one in the afternoon I can feel the sweat running down my back. A rivulet of salt water running down the back of one leg winds its way down slowly as the heat begins to turn flesh into a molten form of meat. Everything begins to soften and liquefy. The grease in heavy machinery oozes where it once stayed globbed around fittings. Ice turns to water and water returns to the air quickly enough to watch. The only shade is from the power lines running overheard and there is nowhere to hide from the sun.
I love it.
I haven’t turned on the AC in my house yet. I’m trying to toughen myself up a bit and get used to the heat and it seems to be working. By two the Afternoon furnace is on in all its splendor. The sky is cloudless and dust dropped from the hand falls straight down like a smoke plume filmed in reverse. Summer is here. Like a bleak but bright dragon that crawled up from the horizon and the heart of the sun, Summer roars out Her one word message to all who live under her reign; heat.
We have a new guy at work and he’s a young man. He doesn’t wear a hat and he thinks we’re there to watch others work and then go hide in the field office and solve all the world’s problems on a smart phone. I have to remind myself that this is the generation that grew up watching endless loops of the same movie videos all the time as children. They still have some of that in them because there’s a website that shows very short videos of people doing truly stupid things and this generation loves to watch them over and over and over again.
Summer isn’t listening.
At three he decides he’s had enough and goes to sit in his truck. This is very bad policy. It shows weakness in front of other men and it shows a lack of interest in work. He has a job to do even in Summer. Those of my generation would have never been the first to fold. I’m over twenty years older than he. I’m not very happy with the lack of grit in this one. You can send them to college but you can’t teach them to think like men.
I get in front of his truck and start doing push-ups. He stares at me as if I’ve lost my mind. The men on the work crew cheer. I do each push up slowly, methodically, and I grin. After twenty I get up and walk away. The men cheer loudly. The young man has to get out of the truck now and he knows he can’t retreat back into the safety of the AC once he gets out.
It’s ninety-seven degrees outside and he has to face this.
The heat is not terrible. It’s bad, certainly bad, but it hasn’t developed the bite it will have in July and August. Take a deep breath, Young Man, and feel the heat inside of your body. Take a Deep Breath and feel your body surrounded by it. This is Summer, Young Man. She’s fighting you but you cannot fight Her. Seduce Her. Make love to Her. This is Summer in all Her glory.
There is something intrinsically sexual about Summer. There is a fire that belongs to lust and Summer. There is a shortness of breath and a sapping of strength that you can only find in Summer or the body of a lover. Remember one night, when there was no real temperature, and a woman led you into her bed, and slowly the sheets warmed, the air of the bedroom warmed, the candles flickered and dripped with heat, and then suddenly, you were there and she was there and there was a point that was just beyond the reach of the moment when passion was whipping you both to that point and you could feel the hellish and heavenly brink that you drove her towards and she drove you onward then at that moment, that exact moment, there was nothing but that moment for you both, at the same time, in the same instant, in the same fire. Later, with sweat pouring off of hills and valleys and muscles and hair, there was the realization of heat, true heat, an inner heat that was generated with love and passion and hard, really hard work with, for, and inside, of someone. But no one ever ran and hid from that heat, no, for no one who ever ran and hid could ever know of Her heat, could they?
I love this time of year. I love the Summer. I love the heat.