We were blessed with a nice long spring this year but now, half way through July, summer is in full swing. The other day I was telling my dad this during our weekly chat, and had to explain that although the temperature he was looking at on the computer was 93, around here we go by the ‘feels like’ temperature. As in because of the humidity it ‘feels like’ 98 (or as in the case of 4th of July ‘feels like’ 108!)
Which means when you head out to walk the dog at 7 in the morning, it’s already hot, and you’re covered in a thin layer of dew after a block. Jeans are no longer even remotely possible; skirts, shorts & dresses are de rigour. A distressing reality for someone with less than modelesque legs.
Other than that I actually don’t mind the heat too much. I kind of enjoy the sensation of being wrapped in a hot, wet blanket (sick, I know). If I’m driving in the morning or evening I’ll roll my windows down (the AC doesn’t work all that well in the Honda these days anyway), the breeze cool on my sweaty skin, the joyous roar of cicadas pouring in.
The neighborhoods I’m traveling through are covered in an explosion of plant life, fueled by the heavy summer rains and the heat. Kudzu, wild grape & ivy engulf telephone poles, fences, trees, bushes and a blush of velvety emerald moss creeps across shaded walls and roofs. The blooming magnolia and dogwoods of Spring have faded and given way to crepe myrtle and mimosa. Lantana, black-eyed susans and zinnias are in bloom in our front yard.
Last August I became entranced with the various forms of fungi that appeared around our house (documented here & here & here), the year before with the abundance and variety of insects and small creatures that seemed to issue forth from every nook & cranny. It’s enough to tempt me to abandon clothes altogether and take up nature photography!
This is the time of year when sitting outside at one of our favorite restaurants; the misters blowing a fine spray above us; I watch flocks of women pass by, their dresses wildly and boldly patterned in the intensely saturated colors of tropical blooms, their hair cropped short.
This is the time of year when things slow down to a crawl, as folks around here head to the coast or the mountains to cool down. The gallery closes completely the first week of July, in deference to this tradition. “We’re at the beach” the sign read, and indeed this is most likely the response you’ll get when inviting anyone anywhere.
And this is the time of year when I start to feel a premature nostalgia for the end of the romance of summer in the south, a small but unmistakable ache, like that feeling you get at the end of a luxurious Sunday knowing Monday is just around the corner.