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May 11, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Boarding up for the season

Sob, too soon!  Good luck flowers and plants – you are on your own now.  Remember, when the going gets tough…Those that survive, I’ll see you next season. It’s already time.  Shut the blinds. Draw the drapes. Say goodbye to the outdoors…for months.

74 degrees. It might be pleasant, except it’s only 7 a.m. – which means over 97 shortly…..Add the humidity which wraps heavy damp air around you – as smothering as steamy spa swaddling cloth – only you are fully dressed with make-up and trying to go somewhere – hopefully to arrive before you totally melt.  Loose hair becomes a mop of hot spaghetti that hasn’t been entirely strained.  It’s misery. This is why Texas has so much air conditioning.

While the rest of the country is unwrapping for spring and eagerly waiting summer, here, in south Texas, we are preparing for the annual onslaught of heat:  summer.

Heat so oppressive eggs actually WILL fry on the pavement.  Heat so punishing, that dogs really need booties in order to go for a walk in order to  protect their feet from the hot concrete. Heat so broiling that bird baths need to be filled twice a day – most of the water evaporates – and what’s left is as warm as chicken soup on the stove in January.  Heat so penetrating, it seeps through the roof, enters the attic, and  sizzles the water pipes until no matter which faucet you turn on, you always get very warms water.  Sun and heat so scorching even the dirt along side the driveway shrinks back so that it doesn’t have to touch the searing pavement. Normally flat leaf green lawn grass, curls, and dries like hay.  No longer soft to walk upon – it crunches and crackles.  Plants wilt routinely in the afternoon…and it’s normal…if they perk up at night and are standing by morning, well, that’s the way it works.  If they stay limp and flatten to the ground, well, it won’t matter – no one will see them…residents hide inside – a sort of warm weather hibernation.

Thank goodness for email and the internet.  Otherwise the only human contact might be the occasional wave from a house window across the street.  No one even has to venture out for the paper now that it’s online. Garbage cans suddenly appear on the curb before dawn and are magically retrieved later, once dark.  Here, people charge quickly to their cars, eyes wrapped in sunglasses, and travel in air-conditioned bubbles from place to place.  (Be sure to take a sweater or wrap.  The AC has to be turned up high in large buildings to dehumidify and prevent mold from growing).

Swimming pools, normally thought to be a cool retreat , an oasis – well, that’s just a mirage here.  Pool water temperature is about right for an infant’s bath.   The dog days of summer?  Maybe it’s called that to remind people that while dogs and cats may stay outside in the winter here, in the summer even animals need to be indoors. No wonder some get SAD depressed during summer.

Stuck inside. Is this Backwards World?

Some places, people bemoan short winter days and sigh about getting snowbound or cabin fever,

There, bored residents retreat to  theaters, bowling alleys, health clubs, and malls for winter fun

Here in summer, we’ll do anything to avoid the oppressive heat and the relentless glare of the sun.

New to the neighborhood?  Please don’t think we’re unfriendly – but it’s summer.

It’s hibernation time – I’ll give you a call.

We’re glad you’ve moved in, but we’ll see you in the fall.

Scorchingly yours,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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