The brightening on the rhododendron, the peachy-pink that expands gently on the bark of the silver poplar, and the sudden racket of the birds – what is that one, that sounds almost like a turkey, or a lost loon? Morning comes at me indirectly, in sound and light.

And smell.

Pepe Le Pew is back.

The steel mesh stapled around the perimeter of the deck, held down by cement blocks, has once again been defeated. Something has burrowed under it as easy as kiss my hand. I was hoping it was the fox. But based on the size of the hole, I’m afraid it is Madam le Pew.  And family.

My nose gives me hope that she may have moved on. I’m just not up to fighting it anymore. Why do they like my particular deck so much? Isn’t there any other deck in the neighborhood that would do?

The skunks couldn’t stop me from noticing the sudden burst of growth one day of warm weather has brought. Grass that seemed like it was nothing but a short mound of straw yesterday is 10 inches of green this morning. The rhodo has exploded into bloom, when I thought it had only set two or three buds. The catmint and roses already need cutting back. And the foxes haven’t eaten that damn chipmunk yet, the resourceful, ingenious little bastard, taunting me as he skitters through my raised vegetable beds. The “fencing” around the garden is a joke – the fox jumps over it, the chipmunk fits through it, and the skunks, apparently, stink their way right around it.

The Tuesday-that-feels-like-Monday after Memorial Day weekend has always been a starting gate for me – here it comes, the heat and humidity of an un-airconditioned summer – prepare yourself, it will last until the end of September. This year there is a good chance I’ll spend most or all of summer working from un-airconditioned home.

We’re used to it, and we’ve been through extreme summers before. Yet after record setting rains this spring, I’m nervous about what’s coming. Bigger storms, hotter heat.

One thing Angelic Daughter and I have been working on is trying to live in the now. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow, so let’s enjoy today. No, sweetheart, I don’t know when the doctors and the scientists will have a vaccine. And no, my love, I don’t know when you can have meet-ups with your friends again. I’ll try to arrange some more Zoom chats, OK?

I’ve promised her a kiddie pool to cool off in this summer, and I’m pretty sure I’ll use it too. Our method of enduring heat is to douse ourselves in the brutally (and blessedly) cold Lake Michigan water that comes out of the hose, several times a day.

That sunrise peachy-pink light has heated to a lemony yellow. The damp cool of the morning will burn off and the moment is coming when we must close the windows downstairs, and reverse the fans upstairs, to try to blow the heat out of the house.

I grew up in a brick house without air conditioning, and I don’t remember suffering for it. Summer was what it was. We lived about two miles closer to the lake back then than we do now, but the lake effect is still strong here. So I’m trying not to jump ahead, to dread a summer when we can’t really find relief by going someplace air-conditioned, other than my furtive, masked and hurried trips to the grocery store, where I always forget something but don’t want to risk going back. Or by driving around, with the AC on in the car, only to return to the heat of the house.

Mike taught us how to keep it as cool as we could, by closing windows and drapes once the sun is high.Whoever built it in 1948 and planted the trees where they did was very good at some sort of mid-last-century passive solar shady cooling.

And there’s always the basement.

The birdsong changes as the sun gets higher. I have a few more minutes to enjoy it before my workday begins. I said I’d try to give you something, a little something something at least, every time I inflict a blog post on you, so here is today’s humble offering- I bet you already guessed:

Getting ready to close the windows and reverse the fans, I remain,

your working-on-staying-positive-even-though-I don’t-summer”-well,


One thought on “Dawn

  1. Hey RW, I just found your blog. You have a way with words and I enjoyed this post. I wish you a cool summer. I can’t even imagine life without air conditioning. Of course, I’m in Texas…so hot summers are nothing new. I look forward to reading more! Mona


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