"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Shock of Summer


Summer arrived with a vengeance yesterday. Relatively speaking, it wasn't that hot, a mere 85 degrees, but in a year when June has been renamed Junuary, and when the high temperature the day before was almost twenty degrees lower, it felt really hot. Today is even hotter, with a scorching east wind offering a tease of relief but feeling like the air stirred by the fan in a Bikram yoga class.

After our cooler-than-average, wetter-than-average, and unsettlingly weird spring, the sudden shift into full summer only adds to my sense of unease. I understand why I've been affected by the lack of sunshine. That's a no brainer. I talk myself through the dense grays of January and February with the promise of the brilliant summer blues to come. Like a hibernating bear who barely survives the winter months on stored sustenance, I come into spring ravenous for light and warmth.

That the only blue this year has been how I've felt, or the color of the water pouring from the felted sky, seems like a broken contract somehow. And that seems odd - to be taking strange weather to heart this way.

Now that the real, promised brilliance of summer has arrived, I'm grateful, and cannot get enough of it. But the shock of sudden heat, along with recent weeks of being promised one kind of weather and waking up to an entirely different kind, makes me wary.

When I was a child, growing up on the farm, barbed wire fences patch-worked our eighty acres. Some were electric to keep our herd of Holsteins from pushing them over to get to the greener grass in the next field. In our summer wanderings my brothers and I were careful to avoid those hot wires, each of us having experienced the bite from trying to slip - unsuccessfully - through strands without touching. Different fences would be electric at different times, and we always knew which ones to look out for.

Or so we thought. Every once in a while, I'd forget or not listen or not pay attention. There's nothing quite like the shock of grabbing a strand of barbed wire to lift it out of the way to crawl through the fence, expecting nothing but the feel of cool metal and being met with the fiery surprise of enough electricity to change the mind of a thick-skulled cow.

The physical pain ended the minute I released the wire. The feelings of stunned disbelief and betrayal lasted much longer. That fence was supposed to be off. I had been sure of it. How could that happen? And for a long while after, I didn't trust any fence, no matter what. I often convinced one of my younger brothers to test the wires until enough time passed for the memory of  the shock to fade.

That's how I feel about the weather this year. Like a trust has been violated. The fact that no person has any true meteorological power, or that whatever larger purpose might lie behind the changes is not about me, or that there have been even weirder weather years recorded - none of that lessens this sense of unease.

I understand that the only moment we can trust is now. I know a loving and benevolent Divinity. I've worked hard to be accepting of the fact that control is an illusion, security is a myth, and change is the only certainty. Apparently the weather this year is offering me the chance to learn those truths at a much deeper level than I had access to before.

I think for now I'll go sit in the shade of my patio, soak up the heat, and be grateful for this glorious day.

Photo from Flickr

19 comments:

M said...

Well worth the wait. =] How well I rememeber the wires...and the "shock" of finding that it was indeed hot. I loved your parallel of the uncertainty of our weather to the uncertainty of knowing whether it was safe to touch the wire. And I chuckle at the way you/we/I have to learn the lessons of trust...and truth, in our lives.

I love you
Mark

Wanda said...

I think that is the only way to be...grateful for the day! I am grateful, but I do complain about the heat and humidity...I think I will stop. Thanks Deb!
...Wanda

Amber said...

You could always come hang out with me if the rain comes back too soon. It is hawt as hell here. :)

When I was little, I have a memory of my older brother making me put my tongue on such a fence...Um, he's been in prison for all his life. So. Hmm... LOL!

Piecefulafternoon said...

So true - this weather is unbelievable - though not quite as hot up here as at your house. Tomorrow one forecast is saying 90 - one is saying 87 - I will take the 87 thankyewverymuch - though I don't think there will be much difference. I think I'll just make some ice white tea and sit and enjoy the warmth - I've been cold for ever so long.

Kelly H-Y said...

We don't live too far away from each other!! I knew the minute I started reading your post that we were from the same region! :-)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I've worked hard to be accepting of the fact that control is an illusion, security is a myth, and change is the only certainty."

Huge progress. Makes life much less scary to accept those truths. Now, to practice those truths every day.

Enjoy the heat. I enjoyed this piece.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh, I understand all about hot weather. We sit above 100 for most of summer. I do like it though. I prefer the heat to the cold. And right now it is cold here. I am sick of running in the cold. I prefer to run in the warmer weather. 4:30am is very cold here right now. Brrrr!

Wen Baragrey said...

Oh, I know those wires well. So does my nephew, he discovered what happens if you pee on one. In typical 12-year-old fashion, he ran down the hill, into the house, and smacked his little brother around the head - firmly believing that his brother had smacked him in the back, not the fence.

I know how you feel about the weather. Here in NZ, it can change several times in a day. This winter, it's rarely changed at all. Grey, cold, rainy and windy, pretty much every day. I love that weather, but it feels odd because it's not how things usually are. It does make you uneasy.

Jerri said...

The shock of an electric fence is something you never forget. You've brought it back perfectly here.

Hope you enjoyed the warmth.

Jessica Nelson said...

Totally agree, Deb. Like you, fences make me very, very nervous. LOL
This weather is def. unsettling, even in FL. It's rainy and hot, which is normal, but it seems like the last few summers have been less rainy so I'm a little nervous about the coming hurricanes.

kim said...

Beautifully said, Deb. I hope you have a lovely summer. Stopping by with a hug and a hi!
x0

Wanda said...

And I am grateful that we don't have the humidity to go with the heat!

Terri Tiffany said...

What a good analogy:) I am trying to be grateful for the now as well and when my thoughts take off, I try to pull them back though not always successfully.
Your story made me think of when I was a child and visiting my uncle's farm in upper New York state. I got shocked by one of those fences and never forgot it. Once was enough for sure.

fullsoulahead.com said...

We're riding out the heat here as well. Trying not to complain.

Kathryn Grace said...

Unremitting gray days get to me too. I hope you get a spate of sunny warmth to lift your spirits and ease your soul. We humans think we are in control, but as one of my favorite bloggers, Hayden of Lyric Flight, reminded me recently, we are not in charge. Except of ourselves, of course. : )

Carrie Link said...

"The physical pain ended the minute I released the wire. The feelings of stunned disbelief and betrayal lasted much longer. "

Nothing could be more made than that.

colbymarshall said...

We've reached the hundreds here in the deep south. It is quite stifling! Stay cool!

Janna Qualman said...

the felted sky...

I love that.

Trust can be a hard thing, and it's a learned thing, don't you think?

kario said...

I love this unique perspective. That the sudden change is unsettling instead of welcome. I'll have to chew on this one for a while...

Love.