Monday, August 29, 2011


Thing of beauty.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Best Storm?

Was that the best storm I've ever seen, never mind in Greensboro? I was front-porched and cocktailed and companied through most of it, so let's sleep on it to decide, shall we? Still: so, so lovely. And well below 70 degrees.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flat Days.

Hugh's got a series of places he stops when he walks Marley, which is almost always mid-morning, and is in almost every weather but for those days when it's already over 93 or 94, he told me this morning, or when there's ice. He was a paperboy after the Korean war, he said, and ice was the worst. You'd turn the wheel, and you'd think you had it, and then you'd end up in the ditch. All of this from his side of the street—Marley's an Australian cattle dog, and is wary of Maddie—from his seat on the brick wall there in the whatever block of whichever street that is that runs north-south down into the park. I somehow only know the east-west street names over here. I bet Hugh knows them all.

Two nights in a row—Sunday, Monday—big storms built to our west and north, slid right past or through or around without dropping anything on the ground, fired up again on the other side. The tomatoes have quit. The flower garden out front is full of crabgrass. Though we're not quite there yet—if we could get a big storm followed by a cool(er) day, I'd do a little weeding, a little cleanup—we are nearly at the place of giving in and waiting for late September, for jeans and sleeves, for the wholesale turnover that precedes pansies and bulbs.

August. August is deadly. This year's is a slow burn, a creeping version. I have seen worse ones than this, and better, but it remains unmistakeably August. What slight hope attends to such a thing is this: the light's lengthening in the evenings, yellowing, suggesting some other season. The cicadas don't seem to know it, but still. It's happening. I think. I hope.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Agua. Agua.

When we left the house—let's say 8:30 or maybe a few minutes after—we were OK. Even down at the creek we were OK. And everybody wanted to talk about being out early, if 8:30 is early, to beat the heat. Hugh and his dog on the hill. The tennis-skirt fast-walkers in the park. Two older women in knee braces. They wanted to talk about the Toad, too, about his curls, about his pink cheeks. By the time we made the turn down there at the spot where the shade gives out, though, we were edged toward not being so altogether OK, and the dog was dragging, and I was dragging, and the Toad was throwing his water bottle on the ground and yelling agua! agua!, which seemed right, which seemed like at least a thing to yell, if not the thing. Back home the flowers in their pots were already looking bad. It was already too hot to stand in the sun. The porch already looked flattened in all the light. It was 9:15. The only outside I've seen since is the fifteen yards between the back steps and the shed, and it was already so hot that the only thing that made since with all this coffee was the watermelon I cut and refrigerated last night. Here is how I'm pushing back aganst these hotter days: with an idea, like a watermelon or a Tom Collins or the frozen yogurt place over on Lawndale, held out there for the five- or six-o'clock hour. Something to survive until.

The radio says 100 in Raleigh. The government, what's left of it, says an outside chance of something named Emily giving us some piece of some other idea altogether by late weekend. The Toad says agua, agua.

Today's fantasy, which is different from today's hold-on-until-evening idea, which has only a lime involved so far: that first morning—September, is it?—when I open the back door to let the dog out and it's almost crisp, and it smells different, smells less like this and more like that, and the next thing that stumbles through my head is that it'd be a right and noble thing to sit on the steps and drink my coffee there, instead of back inside.

For now I have only this, and TLK to thank for it: As the sun bakes its way across the front of my building, I now know what those ticks and pings are—it's the siding expanding in the sudden heat. TLK's got cedar on his folly, too, and told me recently over a quick patch of afternoon drywall and a cold beer in a can that he listens out for it in the mornings, the pop and snap of the building breathing. Now I do, too. And maybe it won't be a lime this afternoon, after all. Maybe a cold beer. Maybe a good new piece of information to go alongside. One more way to measure how we make it through the days, and with what degree of success.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Arrives.

I'm not going to use a word like bearable, but we've slid back some from last week's apocalypse, and now it's just hot. Don't worry, though, Tea Partiers. We'll be back at hell's doorstep tomorrow, when it's supposed to be 99. As for today, though—as for the second day of August, an August that for these two days has not been what the Pyrrhic last days of July was/were—there is a breeze. It is hot, but I do not want to commit homicide. The yard's greened up from the weekend's rain. The sedum is sending up long bloom stalks. This is not bearable, but we may somehow yet survive.

Still, I dream of autumn.

We here at ANYLF know that what you most need from us in a time of crisis is news, and so here's what's breaking: there is a wasp loose out here in the writing shed, and I have no container with which to capture it. It's settled into the gable-end window, too, so I've also got no ladder with which to get up there and not capture it with the container I don't have. I could pour the coffee out, but I've been doing the math, and the numbers make it look like I'd rather get stung. Well, Jim, that does it for our top stories. Let's send it over to Monty with the weather.

It's hot, Jim and Marlee, but not quite as hot as it has been. It's possible it'll never rain again, but we'll deal with that tomorrow. I'd use another sentence with a conjoining conjunction, but that'd be bad form. When we come back, we'll have your seven-day up on the big board. Jim? Back to you.