Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So. I read once the reason why this hot and miserable time of year is called the 'dog days,' and I might wax on a bit about that if I called that reason to mind, but I can't and anyway, wax would melt on such a day as this. Eggs will fry on sidewalks. Dogs and small children, left in cars by the criminally forgetful, stupid, cruel &/or heedless will die. When I walk downstairs it's as if I'm descending into cool - water? cloud? Let me merely say that it's cooler downstairs and dreadfully warm outdoors because it is August - but is it warmer for deeper, systemic reasons? A question worth the pondering, but not here, not by me, not just now. I always find myself thinking of summers in the city, the sufferings in the brick bake ovens fitted out w/in as apartments. Of hot horses and mules, heads down, sides heaving, plodding down sun-baked roads. Of workers, having no choice but to slave away in fields of hay or cotton or tobacco, or quarries w/ broiling sun glaring off white stone. Women in limp dresses gone dark with sweat, damp hair pulled up & away from red, streaming faces, working away in a hot kitchen made hotter by the stove because there's canning to be done, cooking to be done, washing to be done. How lovely those old photographs look, of folks out on their porches of a summer evening, women & girls in their white cotton dresses, men & boys in shirt sleeves, back, say, when Wm. McKinley or Theo. Roosevelt was in office. My grandmothers were dark haired young ladies then. Way later on one of them, Sadie, told me that the only good thing about the good old days was that they were gone. Hmm. One big opera it all is, I reckon. We take the smooth with the rough, the bitter & the sweet, and the cool sweet days then the too damned cold/too bloody hot, steamy old dog days in their season. Turn around twice & it'll be Halloween; twice more & it'll all be over.

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