Sunday, September 9, 2007
Good Riddance to Summer
In two weeks, according to the calendar, the Summer of 2007 will be over. I will not be sorry. This has been the hottest, driest summer that anyone can remember. What little rain that has fallen has come in quarter-inch showers, two and three weeks apart, separated by day after day of scorching, oppressive heat that saps the vitality of the land, the plants, the animals, and the people.
Every day, I consult the long-range forecast on Accuweather. For nearly a month now, the false prophets of the weather world have promised cooler temperatures "next week," but "next week" never comes. The "normal" temperatures for any given day are laughable: 87 is the normal August high for Greensboro; almost every day in August was between 97 and 102. The "normal for today, September 9, is 81. I think it was 94 today. This has gone on day after day after day for more than a month.
I feel like I'm living in some suburban version of a Dust Bowl novel. The whole landscape is dry and brown and crackly, dessicated and dead-looking. The few green plants left alive are wilted. I water them, and they perk up, but the next day brings nine hours of merciless sun and heat, and by the time I get home, the life has again been sucked out of them, and of me.
Every decade, it seems, has its own defining weather event. In the 1970s, in South Carolina, it was the Big Snow of 1973 which dropped 18 inches on the state (with absolutely no warning) and flattened a large tobacco warehouse in my hometown. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo cut a huge swath of destruction from Charleston to Boone. In the Blizzard of 93, ACC fans plowed through a foot of snow to get to the ACC Basketball Tournament in Charlotte. Images of all of these are seared in my mind as clearly as in any photo album. The summer of 2007 may be the defining event of this decade, but in a different way. It is not sudden or dramatic like a hurricane or snowstorm; there is no excitement of sledding down hills or walking through knee-deep water in the street, just a slow wilting of hope. This is what I will remember from this summer.
A woefully inadequate weapon.
Our 21 year old air conditioner. If it dies tomorrow, it has earned our gratitude by bravely soldiering on through this most hellish of summers.
That's all I feel like doing too, Andy.