24 August 2007

"Squeezing every last drop..."

Judith Heartsong's call for August's Artsy Essay can be found here.

It is only now, late in the evening, with the sun having left another blazing dusty trail and darkness riding on its tailcoat that I am able to breathe.  I can still feel the heat being released by the ground of my yard, the asphalt of the parking lot, the simmering sidewalks.  Every outdoor object is pulsating with heat-waves radiating into my tender skin, as I push my way into the grocery store, the blessed chilled air soothing my sticky sweated brow.

And I breathe deeply.  Here in Mississippi, we are begging for relief from the unrelenting heatwave that has gripped us for most of the month.  In August alone, we have already broken the record high temperatures a dozen times.  Air-temps have been about 100 degrees for weeks now, and the humidity adds to the heat index, making life truly unbearable for most.

I've been seeking refuge in the public library (sucking up the controlled climate the books share with me), the gym where I can sink into the cool pool, and LJ's (a local coffee and bakery) where I can soak up the fan's breezes.  My own home, an old single wide trailer in the midst of hay fields, imitates hell quite well.  The air conditioner labors on the hi/hi setting and an additional fan do nothing to combat the steadily climbing temps that call forth sweat from my pores.  I'm drenched and panting merely sitting still by mid-morning.

Area schools have started over two weeks ago, pointless as I cannot fathom attempting to learn and process anything new.  One elementary school in town had to replace their central air, while adding supplemental air conditioners for some spaces where heat is generated, such as the computer lab and the kitchen.  An added expense that is painfully pinching to our already strained budget, we simply cannot function without more moderate conditions for our children.

Summer has not been sweet this year.  It's been blistering, sweltering, and humid, yet we are in need of refreshing rain.  Crops have been damaged, due to the lack of rain and the abusive sun that burns what little moisture vegetation provides.  Angry tempers have run just as hot as daily temperatures, as more and more altercations are reported by listless newscasters.

In the night, when the air cools to the low 80s, I pour myself a large glass of swe'tea.  I quench my thirst and then hold the sweaty glass to my throat, feeling my pulse carry cooled blood to my overheated brain.  It is when the night has fallen that my spirits rise.  In the kitchen, I pull the basket of lemons closer to me, preparing to squeeze every last drop of this sunshine from my summer into tomorrow's pitcher.


  1. Debra!!!! It is so good to hear from you, and I thank you for writing, This has indeed been a very difficult summer for many... people animals and plants. The other day it rained and I had to just sit and watch it for a bit.

    I well remember the kids modified calendar in Florida.... it was so ridiculously hot on the buses and in the schools, and my children would come home just soaked with sweat when they were little ones.

    I miss the good sweet tea, and hope that you are staying very hydrated. Thank you for writing and sharing.


  2. I drink my iced tea with NO sugar!  Can we still be friends?  ;)


  3. Oh Debs, It good to connect with you again.  I understand your essay completely and enjoyed reading it.  September is around the corner and hopfully will bring cooler temps and a feeling of great relief.   Anne

  4. Loved this, your reading my frame of mind today. The heat and humidity are almost unbearable. I remember drinking sweet tea all the time in Fla. for some reason I've gotten out of the habit here in NY and have been drinking it without the sugar. After reading this I couldn't help but put the sugar right back in. Thanks for reminding me of a simple pleasure and visiting my journal as well. I will be putting you on alerts to keep in touch. (Hugs) Indigo

  5. I couldn't bear this kind of summer heat that you have described so vividly.  I'm so glad to live where I do; here in England.
    I was experiencing the furnace-like heat with you as I read this well written entry.

    Thank you for the experience.

  6. I love your entry. I identify with it so much. I live in North Carolina and we have also been experiencing record high temperatures, day after day of unrelenting heat, and no rain. The imagery in your writing is exquisite.--Sheria

  7. I'm a black tea with lemon kind of gal!  Oh your summer reads as positively opressive and I am glad that I am here where ocean breezes, although warm, can be found on any day.

    Nice essay!

  8. Wow!  Great job!  I do unsweetened sun tea when I can :)  Good luck!

  9. Mmm Now I could use a tall glass of sweet tea.. Although I like it a little milder then blow out your teeth sweet tea I often find in Va. A great essay.. I wish you the best for this months contest.


  10. I can taste the lemon aid in my dry parched throat.  


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!