Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Heat and the Darkness

The heat has descended upon us like a big soft quilt of stuffiness. It was hot over the weekend, but it was the sort of hot that you knew was just going to get worse.

I sat in my friend's living room in the dimness on Sunday.

"Do you want me to turn the light on?" She asked.

She is one of the most hospitable people I know. She's always asking if you need anything. She always sends you home with cookies or candy or an apple. It is similar to the Scots/Irish tradition of hospitality. It's something you run into in the mountains here. It's hard to come by for a visit without being fed cake or pie or being sent home with some little something.

"No...I sort of like the lights being off. It makes it cooler, somehow."

She smiles at me.

"That's what I think too."

I remember some of the hottest places that I've lived. Dallas, TX would get well over 100, but it never felt all that hot. Sure, you knew it was hot, but it wasn't the briny humid heat that I grew up in on the South Carolina coast. By far, Columbia, S.C., hold the honor of the most miserable place to be during the dog days. When I was an undergraduate student there, I had no air conditioning. I spent many days down at "the rapids" half immersed in the icy water draining from the Lake Murray dam during the hottest part of the day. You had to be careful since the sirens would go off when they released the water from the dam. You had very little time to scramble to the bank before the water would rise. I lost a friend to that river.

But here, the heat is more subtle. It sneaks into your bones and steals your breath. The goats laze about on the hillside, too hot to eat. The sheep, already fat and sheared, lay panting in the shade.

We all lay in the dark and dream of snow.


  1. samuel said...
    Have you had the haze? Today was the first day in nearly a week that the sky was blue and I knew for certain that the clouds were really clouds and not just that gray ick.

    Sitting outside to smoke, I drag my plastic chair throughout the day to follow the shade. I wonder as I sit there if I'm actually sweating from turning the pages of a book in that heat or if it's just the humidity. Maybe walking from inside to outside makes me condensate like a beer bottle.
    Mike said...
    "Hello the cabin!...Don't shoot, it's me!"

    Been unbearable hot here, too, Rosie. Trying to get tobacco topped in this weather turns the ground under your feet to mud with your sweat.

    You don't gotta tell me about Columbia or that whole region of SC. I lived there for 8 years. First Ft. Jackson and then Elgin/Camden just up Hwy 1 in Kershaw county. It would get hot enough there to make Satan whimper a bit. Not really that much different here where I am. The humidity is just oppressive. But fall is on the way and soon we will be wishing for warm weather again. Humans...they just ain't no pleasing 'em. lol

    Come around to AW for a visit when you get time. We have grown a bit and are doing pretty well I think. Slow but growing none-the-less. Until next time thru,

    Chris said...
    Rosie, did you ever see this old movie called "Swamp Girl?" Your big sis' is in it, plus it's out on DVD.
    kazari_lu said...
    I think you could write a book on all the different sorts of heat. There's thick, grimy, big city heat, where you know you're breathing the same air as a thousand others.
    There's desert heat, when the air is dry enough to crisp your nose hairs, and makes the ashphalt shimmer.
    Or there's the slow, insidious humidity that doesn't leave when the sun goes down. That even makes the flies lazy.
    bluemountainmama said...
    i loved this narrative, dear rosie. my sister did her undergraduate work in columbia, too... and i remember that wretched humidity well from visits there.

    i absolutely refuse to go outside in weather like this unless it's to be in water. i feel like i'm suffocating. of course, i don't have goaties that rely on me...just a mangy, 'ole mama cat that my soft heart couldn't resist feeding and who's a permanent fixture in our family now.

    also, off subject.... did you ever find a shaped-note group nearby? i knew you had been looking. i haven't found one 'round these parts yet...only hymn sings, which are abundant. during mountain heritage days at western carolina university in cullowhee they have a huge one. but i think that may have been in july.
    bluemountainmama said...
    samuel- 'Maybe walking from inside to outside makes me condensate like a beer bottle.'

    loved it...hilarious!! i feel the same.
    Peggy said...
    I am right there with you dreaming of snow. Its been 105F for several days now and I am melting.
    Audubon Ron said...
    Good writtens. I read you everyday. I says, "Let me go visit Rosie and see what's up today." Like your cookies and pie and apple, I always come away with something.


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