July 17, 2007

Summertime (And the livin' is easy)

I woke at five this morning to the rain on the skylights. The air was thick with the stink of water starved grass. There is that heavy ozone scent... I always mistake it for a type of electricity, the renewed potential.

When I was in Tennessee there were flash storms. Sudden and violent. A flurry of lightening and rain, rain like we only see in winter here. I had seen nothing like it, really. Streaming down the roads, washing the dust out of the trees and the cane sugar. Then just as sudden, the sky would clear and paint itself with fluffy white clouds. Passive and sweet again, the sun would drench you in that southern heat that only seems to happen there. One minute you were running for cover, the next you were looking for the gin.

We are going to drive down to Twisp Washington this August. I am looking forward to a landscape I have not seen, abandoned houses I have not photographed. I think it is just the thing I have been craving. That un-named sweet.


July 10, 2007

Summer Heat... Continued

Driving home tonight, I took the shortcut through farm country. It is astonishing to think that less than a hundred years ago the entire area that I passed through was under water. (They drained a large but shallow lake and created a canal to control the flow of one great river into another.)

It was incredibly hot today, further in the valley reaching close to 40~. Unusual in these here parts. We all were sweaty and irritated, the pavement of the city streets baking us despite the consumption of non fat, no whip, decaff mocha frappachinos. That pretty outfit you put on this morning looks less so as a dish rag. Some of us glow in this heat, savouring the depth of it. Others, admittedly I am in this group, go from one air conditioned building to another. I don’t mind the heat, but for fuck sakes... give me a cold stiff drink.

It was just dark on my voyage through the tall grass ditches and corn fields. The farmers were irrigating the crops, something I always find delight in. If you grew up in the country you may know what I mean... or if you had the luxury of a sprinkler to run through. The rooster tail sprinklers, you know the ones I mean. They make that Tsstk tsssk tsssk sound as they pivot, each beat of the guard mechanism causing a pause in the arc of water. My father used one to water our lawn and I liked to hear the sound as I fell asleep on hot summer nights. It’s sprinkler music enough to cool me off.

But the farmer and his sprinkler... is an entirely different experience.

Amplify the lawn sprinkler by ten thousand. This HUGE arc reaches out, fingers stroking the edges of the field, corn leaves glistening in the spray. Hundreds of litres of water, thrown out to sparkle against the sky... each pulse seemingly reaching out further than the last. And the sound... I wish I could capture that sound for you. It is more than a calm lawn experience. You feel wet just standing on the road near one, the mist drifting.

Sometimes the farmer misjudges the arc of water and it will fall on the road. I love to drive through these mistakes, a summer rain in the holocaust of summer light. The music of it raining down on the hood of the car.

Don’t get me started on the scent of the pavement... hot from the sun, touched by cool fingers. Such a simple girl...

I reached for the camera and nada. But I don’t think the camera would catch the feeling these beautiful dancers evoke. Most definitely, you could not taste the difference in the air....


July 07, 2007

Summer Heat

“When you see daddy comin’
You're licken' you lip
Nails bitten down
To the quick.”


Today, a tanned vixen in a black bathing suit, white convertible, tattooed boy. The grass is nipple high. Everything screams of sex. I was listening to Junior Kimbrough on the highway today, windows down. I had cravings of late night dancing in some blues club in Memphis. Past summers of working in the sweat. How quickly things evolve from a faint glow to that slick of burning.

There was once a boy I used to sleep with. Sleep... we did none of. When we make love it was always hot and sweaty, I remember a droplet running down his nose... tripping down between my breasts to rest in my belly button.

“A man makes a picture
A moving picture, in the projected light
He can see himself up close.”

Now, in retrospect, I think it was always hot when we were together. Summer or that early spring.

I often wonder what became of him, the graphic artist who fucked so passionately but married a prudish lawyer. Is he happy in his marriage bed? Does he dance in the sultry way with her, wetting her breasts with his enthusiasm? I somehow doubt it. How insatiable we are in our youth, that constant ember burning in us.

I must admit, this is my absolute favourite time of year. And although I am happily coupled there is this quickening that we both will enjoy. The automatic, primal swing of the hip in pace with the wavering grass. Last year we had some lovely adventures in the heat... I wonder what this summer will hold.

“It’s all right, it’s all right,
She moves in mysterious ways.”

The summer night sky is something beyond me, elegant and promising all at once. The construction paper cut outs of trees against the azure deepness of coming night. Streaks of purple clouds, the touch of pale softness on the horizon. Jesus. It makes my heart ache. Everything has potential under that sky. Everything is touched by magic.

There was a night when I was a teenager. A boy who I had a mad crush on (later to become my husband) and I were standing out under a streetlight. I was in my bare feet, walking on a crack in the hot asphalt. I can feel of the chalk they used on the patch, the heat and soft of the road. There was a shadow design from a tree crowding the lamplight. If I were to go stand there tonight, I imagine that there would be some of that magic still lingering. I remember how his skin tasted of salt and I had the faint recollection that all freckles must taste this way. His skin had that man feel, tougher than mine. I walked home that night high in the azure of sky.

“I am gonna run to you, run to you
Woman I will.”

The entire summer that J and I dated, feeling out the potential between us, there was the sleepless nights with the window open listening to the far off frogs and wind. My hungry exploration of what he could make my body do, the shaky feeling in the morning. Tired, but exhilarated.

We would go driving then, anywhere... aimless. The windows down and the music on. Of all the things I miss from prior living together, it is that. The random freedom. Oh yes, and the quiet basement sex. I slept so well in that cool darkness. A calm reprieve from the violent heat of the day.

I miss running on summer nights, just my breath to keep me company. Here I don’t have anywhere I feel safe to run... there are no hills and no streetlights. I liked lying on the lawn to cool off, looking at the sky. Midnight runs, the pristine quiet. My body my own, wondrously tired and sweaty.

“Don’t turn around, don’t turn around again
And don’t look back”

Tomorrow J and I are going to head out on one of those rambling drives. I hope to find some warm water and interesting photographs to take. Perhaps lunch in some small place... bliss, to spend the time with just he and I and an open day of surprises.


“Hey I lost you
When you took me in, my friend.”