July and August are the two hottest months of the year here in South Georgia. It is not a question of if triple digit heat will set in but only a question of when. With luck we’ll have fewer than three or four weeks where the mercury rises to the point of boiling over but I remember back in 2007 when it hit the upper nineties and more for nearly two whole months. It was a hellish time where even inside with the AC on it felt hot and sticky. I remember being outside one day near the middle of July during this time and someone said, “You can sure tell them days is getting longer” and there is no environmental condition that can’t be made worse by ignorance.
It happens nearly every year. The long hot days do seem to stretch out forever before us but the truth of the matter is that since the twenty-first of June the days have been getting shorter and shorter. Yet there are those people who can’t seem to disconnect the two ideas of longer days and hotter days. I tell them that the days will continue to lose light and come the twenty-first of September the day and night will even out and past the Equinox then the night is longer than the day, until December. I can tell people this and have told people this, and still I get those blank stares. Inevitably, someone will say, “But it’s getting hotter!” but not smarter.
Not having a television helps, believe it or not. I suspect people begin and end their days with the rising and setting of the television rather than the sun and the moon. I’m usually outside when the sun comes up so I know what time sunrise occurs. I also know when there is a full moon because my girls are Luna based creatures. I can walk in the woods at night during a full moon, except in Summer when the mosquitoes are biting. I’ve done it barefoot more than a few times and I’ve been known to walk under the light of a new moon, trusting my feet and the stars. It’s safer than driving to work every morning trust me, I know.
It’s usually around late August and early September when corn is ready for harvest and that’s one of the events I look for to tell me Summer is ebbing away again. It’s still ungodly hot at that time of the year, still plenty warm, but the light is beginning to give way. It’s like walking up one morning and feeling that slightly less hot feeling in August that dissipates quickly, but there it was. The first half of September has been known to be August Part Two, but the furnace is running out of fuel.
In one month the first week of August will be nearing its end. Odd, isn’t it? The months of August and July seem to terribly long but here we are talking about a month from now. Hurricane season, in all it hell and glory, will be a month away from that. A month after September and suddenly the year is ending. Back when I was a child the 4th of July meant the Summer was only beginning but now I see it as a time where I can begin to see the end of it. Technically, we won’t hit midsummer until the first week of August but that always seems to be where the decline begins.
I have a personal meter for measuring the end of Summer; when the highs for a week don’t reach ninety and when the lows are under seventy. The Eighty-Nine/Sixty-Nine Rule is very unscientific but it does tell me that cooler weather is here to stay rather than just a couple of cool days passing through.
But first we have to survive the next eight weeks or so, maybe even ten. The highs could reach one hundred and five and the lows won’t see less than seventy-five for a while. The humidity levels will soar to new all-time records once an hour every hour until damn near December. At some point the boiling blood and melting metal around everyone will induce at least one person a day to say, “It’s not the heat it’s the humidity” and even the gnats will be sick of hearing it.
The noon day sun will bring the scalding and baking sun every day as if it were ordained, which I suppose it is, and this will happen every day, day in and day out, and even the nights will seem overly warm. The rain will seem to be a little less than liquid for after every Summer shower the sun will return to turn it into a thick vapor that is hard to breathe. Sweat will balance on the skin, refusing to take any of the heat away, and sometimes, when it’s hottest and most humid, a body will sweat even in the shower. Mosquitoes and gnats will seem to form out of the miasma that serves as the air we breathe and it is impossible not to think sometimes that if there is a Hell it has to look a lot like South Georgia in August. Eternal damnation and punishment via heat and torment seems not only possible but downright probable after a month of these conditions. Toss in a goodly amount of wasps hiding in shrubs, yellow jackets hiding underground, grass that needs cutting every other day, and the ever present, never ending, always in your face, humidity, and it’s easy to understand why so many Southern people are religious; Hell happens for at least two months of the year.
It’s been over ninety a few days and it’s hot one hundred a couple of times already but the grinding heat of the Summer has yet to arrive. It will be here soon and I can feel it. I’m actually looking forward to it. There something to be said for surviving this sort of thing.