well, it’s summer. for some of the country it became summer before spring was even over, considering that they’ve been in sweltering heat for days now. thank god for air conditioning, or i guess for those of us who have air conditioning, thank god for that. honestly, i don’t know how people who do not have air conditioning survive, especially with the humidity.
like a lot of you, i grew up without air conditioning. in the san gabriel valley of southern California (not near any beaches). since it cools off substantially in the evening hours and overnight in ca because of the lack of humidity, most people think that living through summer without air conditioning wasn’t so bad. they’d be wrong. i vividly remember the searing heat and the headaches and nausea that came with being in the heat without air conditioning. true, we could sleep at night since it was cool, but still, the midday sun was brutal. it’s no wonder that in many cultures a midday siesta is a way of life.
when i first move to pa, i was in an apartment with no ac and there was many a night i just didn’t sleep. it was so humid i could actually see the air hovering around me, a thick curtain of heat that held you down under its weight. i taught myself to bake bread that summer, since the heat was perfect for nurturing the yeast.
that was the first time i really understood why people changed out the house for the summer. not just pulling down the storm windows and changing out their clothes, but dragging out the heavy rugs, pulling the blankets and comforters from the beds, the pillows from the furniture and tucking everything away in the basement. then too, it made perfect sense that the furniture was covered with slip covers that could be washed and refreshed, and were made of fabrics that didn’t feel itchy against bare, sweaty skin.
we have central air, so changing out the house is not really a necessity. then again, it somehow is. the light is different, the air smells different and somehow it all triggers the need to lighten up the décor. (there’s little else as beautiful as the summer evening light stretching across a bed made with crisp, white sheets and a white coverlet with a scalloped edge) every year i say i’m not going to do it, that i may change out the comforter for a light coverlet or quilt, but the rest of it is too much work. and then i catch a glimpse of the light and a whiff of the summer breeze and soon i’m hauling out the boxes of shells and dusting off the coffee table books that help the room strike the right kind of relaxed pose for another summer.
in spite of the air conditioning, we spend much of our time outside on the backyard patio flanked by lit tiki torches and decorated with dozens of lit candles that cast the perfect glow on the riot of annuals spilling out of the surrounding pots. we watch the fire flies. and we talk. or we read. or we enjoy cocktails.
life is all so much better for it.
there’s so much to be said for heeding the rhythms of life even when our modern, climate controlled world makes it so we really don’t have to.
note: the header photos in this blog are courtesy of cliff, my talented photo snapping husband.