Summer Musings

I have a good friend who will remain nameless – she knows who she is. This friend urges me to write, saying recently “Why aren’t you writing? Where is your new work?” I had thought I was putting out content on a fairly regular basis but it seems I was mistaken. This is okay; that is the raison d’etre of the muse, after all. As a way of explanation, I had cited a lack of story ideas.

While true, this is a bit of an over-simplification. I have ideas; I merely lack impetus. Enter my muse. I have a series of seasonal pieces that lacks a summer installment; I will attempt to rectify that here. This seems fitting, as the solstice passed over the weekend. One thing I am still re-acclimating myself to, are the summer weather patterns of the east versus west coasts: the seemingly interminable thunder storms for instance.

After long residency in the two-season west (i.e., rainy season: November to May, dry season: May to November), I am still getting used to summer rainfall. What has been welcome, however, is the return of short-sleeve summer nights. The chilly fog-bound nights of San Francisco precluded any such comfort-wear. A jacket was nearly always needed once the sun went down in that cool grey city.

Here, though, a jacket is almost never needed. Outside the home of the muse, a great field of wheat stretches across a rolling terrain. In spring, it was a vast greensward; it has since turned a black tinged green and eventually matured to flaxen waves that billow in the summer wind. This muse lives on the same country road as I do. Sometimes when walking along this road after darkness falls, it is lined with fireflies that flicker intermittently looking like nothing so much as match-heads extinguishing as they are strewn along the side of the road.

As recently as last week, the full moon graced the night skies. On one of the few clear nights it stood stark against the near starless firmament: only Venus shone with enough amplitude to override the brilliant sheen of lunar luminosity. Residual clouds from recent storms gathered before this radiance like back-lit horses on some cosmological plain, prancing about under the heavy glare of heavenly stage lights.

Later, as the moon rose to its apex, the clouds dissipated and only the pearl-grey sky surrounded the moon. The lunar body no longer appeared as a sphere but seemed a cut-out blazing through a circular rend in the vast vault of the heavens.

On subsequent nights, this effect lessened only slightly as the full moon waned and its shape became less perfectly round. Soon, electrical charges were lightening the skies once more and the attendant rumbles rattled the skies as well as the psyches of lesser beings.

Of course, no discussion of summer in the east would be complete without a mention of the humidity. The stifling warmth proffers a permanent patina of perspiration. At night, it seems the sticky sheets will never dry: only the underside of the pillow affords a momentary, cool respite during long, sleepless nights. Equally evocative of warm nights are the denizens of the deep, dark wood. Something lurks in the impenetrable thicket. I know it only by its sound: a seemingly respiratory noise like the breathing of innumerable tiny throats. Whether the source is insect or reptilian, I know not; I only know it is unnerving.

One more thing, the omnipresent bugs, especially mosquitoes dominate the scene. I am covered with welts of every conceivable variety: mosquitoes, ticks, deer-flies, and horse-flies; flies of every possible type that can bite and do! Politicians are similarly ubiquitous this summer campaign season, building up their own febrile heat.

We can but hope that, in the end, all will come out for the good. We can also but hope that the bite of the victor will not prove too venomous. We are a people in need of a salve for bites already inflicted. Here’s to a candidate who will provide a soothing unguent not more of the divisiveness to which we have fast become accustomed.

© Stephen Alexander 2008

Summer Musings

stephen hewitt

Lanexa, United States

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A summer installment to my Seasons series

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