The Sassy Sandpiper: So, it’s Summer
By M.R. WILSON, TB Reporter
The hottest season isn’t what it used to be.
My Least Favorite Season officially arrived June 20 at 6:34 p.m., with the celestial event known as the Summer Solstice. At noonish, the sun appears directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer, yada yada yada. Longest day of the year. Whoopee. I missed the Full Strawberry or Rose Moon—rare in lunar happenings and not occurring again until 2062. I’ll miss that one, too, unless I’m around for my 110th birthday.
Summer wasn’t always on my Least Favorite Things list. There were fun times, like dances at the Northwest Youth Center and swimming and sun-burning at the Northwest Pool. Back then I walked up and down 58th Street N with nary a fear for safety. The aroma of chlorine intoxicated; the sparkling water invigorated. Teenagers dove in for summer romances, too. We found and lost our hearts, and learned how to be young adults.
The summer before my senior year of high school I started teaching guitar lessons at Sanborn’s House of Music on Central Avenue. My first full-time job began on the heels of graduation. I worked in the classified ad department of the St. Petersburg Times.
College summers in Kansas City meant high-octane coursework to speed commencement. One year an especially upbeat professor brought in donuts so everyone could share his 40th birthday celebration.
Summers have been pretty much downhill since. Especially in Florida.
If you live here and can buy a summer home elsewhere, you have. Who wouldn’t want to escape the suffocating heat and humidity? It’s so humid, the iron in your blood will rust.* Aggressive mosquitoes will chase you indoors. You will invest in ways to keep flying cockroaches outside.
The food crops in my “yarden” go droopy and die, save for a few hardy patches of callaloo seedlings and three tomato plants. Tropical Storm Colin dumped enough rain to encourage ginger and turmeric roots to send forth green leaves. Avon’s Skin-So-Soft is a decent mosquito repellant, but I droop soon myself, and leave marigolds and milkweed, pentas and periwinkles, and all manner of Florida wild flowers to fend for themselves. Bees and butterflies abound.
Torpor descends, even as you retreat to air-conditioned places. It doesn’t matter. Your body knows. A nap at 10 a.m. seems like a grand idea.
Summer attacks the cats, too. I find them draped over just about anything, anywhere, like a Dali painting. Mama Cat Boa nods off on a bookshelf and, refusing the spaces I’ve cleared for her, falls from her perch. A most rude awakening.
Estivation sounds great right about now—a long summer’s dormancy until autumn crisps the air, if only a bit. Snails, crocodiles, tortoises and hedgehogs estivate.
Wake me in October.
*(Note: Rusty blood is not yet scientifically verifiable.)
The Sassy Sandpiper | Columns | Summer | TB Reporter
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