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.


Hellebore Queen said...

Thanks for articulating so well my thoughts. If it doesn't end soon, I'm not going to be able to endure. I have visions of 95 degree Thanksgiving and Christmas Days-no Hellebores--never any blooms covered in ice crystals. All my new Hellebores died.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

You see what my little hellebores look like. My bigger ones are hanging in there so far, but I worry about them.

Gina said...

david - i got so tickled when i saw the pictures of your AC unit. if yours is 21 years old then the one we just replaced had to be at least 30. yours looks like something off the jetsons compared to the one we finally just had to replace last year.

Mary said...

I'm with you, David. It's been a summer from Hell. We did not enjoy it. I love summer but this one made me sour about the season. We have had about 40 days of 90's & 100's with one day in the 80's (last Saturday and it was delightful). We have had three or four brief T-storms that amounted to less than an inch of rain since June.

Garden hoses? Almost useless.

Sorry to rant on your blog. Better days are ahead! We might get a few showers this week and I hope you do, too.

I'm ready for Fall (no, Winter).

Joel said...

Just Came Across you site - it's super. I linked to you. I'll enjoy reading all your stuff.

And I agree about summer. Did it last 5 months this year?

Joel Gillespie

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Gina, you might have had an antique!

Mary, I'll bet it was closer to 55-60 days above 90. For the mathematically challenged (not you or me!) that's 2/3 of the summer.

Thanks, Joel, and Welcome. I read your blog often, and quoted you at length on a post on May 9, about animals. (By the way, 5 months ago Sunday was Easter--the low temp was 28 that morning!)