Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Summer snowflakes

The summer heat wave continues, and about the only thing that isn’t wilting in this 100F heat are the Queen Anne’s lace blooms, summer’s snowflakes. The heat is just sucking the moisture out of the ground, making a mockery of the too-much rain we had until just a few weeks ago. Here in early July, the forest is as wilted and brown as a bad August.
Last night a local raccoon raided the chickens’ water bottle, updumping it in an effort to get a taste. I keep the water just outside their pen, because they updump it when it’s inside. The raccoon didn’t bother the chickens, only the water. I guess that gives you an idea of how dry everything suddenly is.

The dogs look like deflated balloons, stretched out across the cabin floor. The cats are no better, and neither, I suspect, am I. Still, as much as I dislike this weather, I do find a few upsides to how I put up with it. At work yesterday, the air conditioning went out for a bit, and you’d have thought the world was ending.

Even before the office reached 80 degrees, people were wilting and claiming the conditions were unbearable. That’s when it occurred to me that people who spend their whole lives in controlled climates feel uncomfortable when the temperature varies just a few degrees beyond that controlled level. Someone like me, who lives in an uncontrolled climate, is better able to adapt to wider swings of temperatures and still feel comfortable. Of course, I may find this ability disappears by the time I am elderly. I will worry about that then. For now, let’s just say that an 80-degree office still felt pretty good to me.

I do worry, a bit, if controlling things like a household temperature to within a few degrees all year long is really doing the human species much good. Less than 100 years ago, no one had air conditioning and people survived. Amazing, isn’t it, that today people will complain when the temperature reaches 80?


Woodswalker said...

Beautiful photo. Yes, it's nice to think of snow in the midst of this heat wave. I remember many summers with no AC. Everyone just slowed down, drank iced tea, and used paper fans. They used to have them in the pew pockets at church, in there with the hymnals.

Cathy said...

Didn't that happen last year? The air conditioner at my job doesn't really do a good job of cooling the main room.

Ah Queen Anne Lace, the only flower I know that also smells like a vegetable too1

Adayak said...

We've grown soft! I'm amazed that soldiers during the Civil War wore those thick wool uniforms covered from head to toe and I was pushing 100 degrees during Gettysburg.

Carolyn H said...

Woodswalker: When I was a kid, not many people had AC. That's why they went to the movies! The iced tea and paper fan thing still works, too!

Carolyn H

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: you're right that the AC at my office went out last year too. Our office was once a warehouse and the heating/cooling system isn't really designed for offices. It's often too hot or too cold.

Carolyn H

Carolyn H said...

Adayak, I live about 20 miles from Gettysburg, and I don't think a summer goes by that I don't think about those soldiers in that battle with their wool uniforms and the heat. That must have added so much to their misery.

Carolyn H