Sunday, July 24, 2011
The long, hot days of an Oklahoma Summer.
This Summer has been abnormally hot, even for our scorching Oklahoma Summers. When June came around, our temperatures reached the 100's and have stayed that way. There seems to be no end in sight, and every week we watch the weather, disappointed by another 7 days of triple digit temperatures and no rain in sight. We are in the middle of a severe drought, and the days seem to drag on with no relief.
At any given time, the weather here seems to be an indicator that the world is ending, when in reality, it is just a typical Oklahoma weather pattern.
Even our watering holes prove no relief, only feeling like a disappointing tepid bath. One that makes your skin almost feel worse than it did before.
We are all suffering from severe cabin fever, and feeling the need to spread our wings and be part of the outside world again. Days are spent trapped inside our house with the air conditioner on constantly, barely clothed, and sweating. Sweet Elodie seems to be taking it the worst. She loves nothing more than being outside - I adore that first moment when I take her out and she sighs, blinks her eyes, and takes in all the smells, sounds, and happy bits of nature. But these days she is stuck inside with the rest of us, and also teething. She cries, cries, cries...chews on frozen pacifiers and her little fingers. I want desperately to let her feel the wind on her skin and through her hair....I miss it, too.
We keep her busy the best we can, but there is only so much you can do with a (almost) 4 month old that just wants to sit in the hammock and swing, listening to the birds.
I try to rattle toys at her, but everything seems to make her cry. I make her promises of Fall, and how we will hike, go for walks, and lay in the hammock until she falls asleep and drifts off to another place.
The time inside has been a nice break to spend with family, and rest. But as the days go by and I see more and more of her personality come through, I realize how much of the two of us is inside her tiny body.
She is a whole mess of bored & sensitive, and a combination of her screams and this heat have been making my head very heavy.
We still have 2 more full months of hot weather, and for now I have to focus on the day to day. Looking ahead, it seems like a lifetime away before I can open the windows and let the stale out of this home that feels like a prison.
When she is in bed and my world is quiet again, I grab the monitor and sneak outside to unwind. The evening is the only time of day that is somewhat bearable, although the upper 90's are not much of a relief from this overbearing weight of Summer.
I take photos, pull weeds, and sadly look over a garden that stood no chance against the kind of Summer we had this year.
In late July, a Summer Breeze in Oklahoma is nothing like the ones that cool us to our bones in Spring. Now they feel heavy, thick, like a brick across your face. It feels like opening an oven, and being met with a wall of heat.
My herbs have long ago dried up, and what I didn't save to dry myself for the cooler months, I let go to seed. I have been outside in these hot evenings, picking them to prepare for gardening season, next Spring.
The way you feel after spending a couple hours outside in this weather can only be truly understood if you have spent a Summer here, in the middle of arid Oklahoma.
After a period of time, it almost feels like death. Your body is only brought back to reality by the beads of sweat that slowly trickle down your back, reminding you that you are still alive. Everything slows down, and even your senses are completely numb. Things seem to move slower, the world is drowsier, your heart beats quieter.
Across the state, people are losing their lives, and our wildlife is completely threatened by this drought.
In a literal sense, everything is just cooking.
Every couple weeks, clouds will fill the sky and everyone is praying to their God that it will finally rain. But we are met with no response from anyone or thing upstairs, and the tiny drops that barely cover the tallest leaves quickly evaporate.
The only things thriving are the sunflowers. My wildflower garden has dried up, but the sunflowers seem to be loving this heat.
Their faces are an absolute joy, a mirror image of the hot sun that is causing all of this trouble. But still they make me happy, to know that something is still able to live through this.
I've been clipping them and bringing them inside, my tiny bits of the outdoors inside of this air-conditioned-prison.
I've also been bringing inside handfuls of tomatoes from the garden...they are the only other remaining things that have survived.
But as of last week, this spider has made it's home in the middle of my three tomato plants, and I doubt that I will be in the middle of her web, picking my fruit any longer.
How challenging it really is... to stay optimistic and alive when everything around you is dying.
In these moments - the end of our icy Winters and the long, hot days of an Oklahoma Summer - it is a daily struggle and fight to put on a smile and face a world that is doing everything it can to break you down.
In these weak moments I think of sweet Elodie. Tiny, teething, sensitive, and innocent. Her first Summer has been a challenging one....and I wish that I could make it all better for her. For myself. But in real life, things don't work that way.
So today, and tomorrow, and for as long as that 7 day forecast spells 106 + no precipitation, I will smile and teach Elodie that sometimes we cannot control what goes on around us. The hand we are dealt may not be the best, but it's the only one we have.
In our home we are dreaming of the brisk days of Fall, open windows, and new life. Long walks, bike rides, and patio nights. Throwing more wood on the chiminea fire, swinging in the hammock, and a barren weight of Summer '11 to be lifted from our weary shoulders.
We will take it one day at a time, and one day we will wake up and these dreams will be today. Until then, all we can do is wait.