Monday, May 30, 2011

Dog day afternoon.

The spring has been mercifully temperate and rainy, but Ohio is starting to show her true colors now. I don't know if I will ever get used to the artificial, goosebumpy cool that my air conditioner churns out, but it has become preferable to the sweltering stickiness that is overtaking my house. So I closed the windows, and turned the AC on to 78 and am looking forward to welcoming the Columbus summer with open, bared arms.

And honestly, it's not all that bad yet. The sun is hot, but there is a breeze that shivers through the treetops all day and cools the evenings. And the thunderstorms (!) cover a multitude of sins.

Today is Memorial Day. The neighborhood is quiet - maybe people have taken advantage of the long weekend and have gotten the heck out of Dodge, or maybe they are waiting for things to cool down before they venture outside.

It's not like Anchorage. A day like this - warm, sunny - would set off a sort of panic in Alaska. Are we wasting it? We can't waste it! Garage doors would be thrown open to reveal homeowners ransacking their camping gear, feverishly praying that they remembered to patch that punctured bike tire, unwilling to lose valuable minutes of the midnight sun. Old women hack away at their gardens, mindful of the brief growing season. Children shudder through sprinklers filled with glacier water, screaming Pain?

But here, everyone's a little more kick-back about summer. It's because I'm now around city-folk, who have chosen to be surrounded by skyscrapers and coffee shops instead of mountains and ocean. Or perhaps it is the comfortable knowledge that today is not an anomaly.

I would think that this is more my speed. Anyone who knows me would not put self-propulsion down on my list of strengths, and when I lived in Alaska I often had to straight-arm attempts from my friends to push me up steep, steep mountains or cycle over root systems. I have a hard time getting over "the hump," which is what I call that space in motivation between being outside exerting myself and the comfort of sitting on my sofa with a cup of coffee.

In an "absence makes the heart grow clichè" sort of way, I am all nostalgic about the fireweed and green grasses of the Alaska summer. I want to go flying and fishing and camping. I want to ride horses on my parents' farm and hike Flattop and make driftwood fires on the shores of Resurrection Bay.

But I'm not so far gone that I can't enjoy the rhythm of urban life, and until I visit AK in July I'm happy to fit in with the reality of the sleepy summer city, and take walks in the cool of the evening. I'm satisfied with reading at the park fountain with the rainy-day girl, and sitting on my front porch listening to The Who streaming from my neighbor's window.

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