"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Heat Wave

Yesterday was a scorcher, and unfortunately we've got several more on the way. The 90+ degree temperatures sent Ruthie and me fleeing back here to the cottage on the Big Lake. Lola and the Chap are keeping each other company at the Lodge.

The drive up here was interspersed with the usual errands--post office, garden center/fruit stand. When we reached the little private beach where we've taken the dogs swimming, I pulled the car over and stopped. Ruth and I both got out and had a quick dip to cool off--we couldn't even wait to get to our own dock!

After bringing in all the food and writing tools (my laptop and Dana) and flowers from my garden (sweetpeas, lavender, Queen Anne's lace, roses), we headed down to the water. The lake temperature was up to 78 degrees, at least five degrees higher than when we departed on Wednesday.

I jumped right in, wearing a 2-piece swimming suit that I've had since--I think--before I was married. It's a cute cotton plaid, with a top that can be worn well with shorts, so I kept it on the rest of the day.

While we sat under the dock umbrella, we saw a sea monster.

Nessie the sea monster

Nessie turned out to be a log floating past, perhaps a loose piece of somebody's crib-type dock. The damage to docks this spring and summer resulted in lots of flotsam and jetsam. Or else it was just driftwood.

The sun was blazing, but at one point some heavy clouds came over. Didn't cool things off, but it did cut down on the glare.

awesome cloud over the sun

Ruth says, "I'm a hot dog today!" If she has a pinkish tinge, it's not sunburn--one of our dock umbrellas is bright red and casts a glow.


Once indoors, I changed into an even older garment, a loose white India cotton thing that is supposedly a swimsuit cover up. It's a bit well-worn (so much so that I'd taken it out of rotation for many years, as my spouse reminded me when he caught me packing it.) But it's the only thing I want when it's this hot.

It brings back memories of sweltering summer days at the Sea Island beach house with my grandparents and cousins. Sitting in my room on lazy afternoons, flushed from the sun and slightly stunned from being knocked about by the waves. With a window air-conditioner blasting as I read a historical novel, any historical novel. Knowing that for supper I'd be eating freshly caught crab and shrimp--so much that I wouldn't want anything for dessert.

the beautiful beach on Sea Island

In other words, wearing it makes me a teenager again.

And then, of course, I chart the long and unexpected journeys of this life...

...from that sun-washed barrier island on the Georgia coast, to a bustling metropolitan area, to London and Oxford and York, to a sprawling and music-obsessed US university town, to a Rocky Mountain State, to countries all over the globe with the man I love...

...and eventually we came to live beside these beloved New England lakes, so clear and cool and refreshing in a heat wave.

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