Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mind-Numbing Weather

Like the inhabitants of a castle preparing against an attack, my spouse and I have shut every window, drawn down the shades, opened the basement door, and hefted the room air-conditioner onto one of the upstairs windowsills.  Hot weather is on the way.

It's the weather that I moved to Vermont to escape, the kind of heat and humidity that reduce me to molluscan status.  Every summer the heat gets stronger and stays longer. If and when the kudzu vines and the cave crickets arrive from the lower latitudes, I'm moving north.

Meanwhile, all I want to do is hibernate or rather, estivate ("a state of dormancy or torpor during summer").  This is unfortunate because, now that the ridiculously long spell of cool weather is over, the garden is exploding.

Instead of writing, I should be out there picking kale to make into pesto.  I should be picking and freezing chard, pulling up the bolted lettuces and planting something else in their space.  Straightening the tomato cages that the daily storms have felled. Weeding the front flower beds, the back flower beds, the vegetable beds.   And pruning the four big lilacs before the job gets too big for me to handle.

But these days the only job I like is picking lavender.  In the morning, after the dew has dried but before the sun unleashes its full fury, I go out with my basket and cut the spears where a single cobalt bud has opened.  It hasn't been a good year for lavender, for although the winter was cold there wasn't enough snow cover.  I lost a couple of bushes, and the survivors aren't flowering well.  But I'll take whatever they give me.

I leave the lavender in its basket on the dining room table, where it releases clouds of scent into the humid air.  I should be tying it into bunches and hanging it up to dry, but that seems like a big effort right now.

Instead, I go and sit blankly by the indoor pond and watch the goldfish play in the fountain stream. Don't ask me to lift a finger, express an opinion, or make any sense.  I'm estivating.




13 comments :

  1. My sentiments exactly. I did not know that I was "estivating" but, now that I do, I shall wallow in estivation.

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  2. Estivate! I am totally estivating this summer. I am going to use that word.

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    1. I wonder what happens when estivation is followed by hibernation?

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  3. It is cooler in Tennessee right now, 68 degrees, than in Vermont. If this isn't climate change, what is it?

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    1. Just came back from someone's porch party...haven't felt this hot in years. Enjoy the coolness!

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  4. Luckily, it has been nothing like that in the Netherlands. The weather has been cool, and since I am a cool weather person, there has been no reason to estivate. There may be cause to yet, because warmer weather is expected, and I will do what you and your husband did and close up my apartment and hide inside. I will have to see if I can translate the word "estivate" into Dutch.

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    1. I'm a cool weather person too. Maybe I should move to the Netherlands!

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  5. Our cool weather really belongs with you! We have plenty of A/C a and are used to the humidity - you remember ;-)

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  6. At 3:45 pm, I turned on the window unit in my office. So proud to not do so all day, and yet now I've caved!

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    1. It's been infernal hasn't it? We've caved too.

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  7. Finally I can relate! Estivating sounds pretty good to me right now.

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  8. Yes, we're finally experiencing the same kind of weather (though yours is probably drier?) at the same time.

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