July 3, 1999
Too Darned Hot
Way, way too hot today.
Just effin' hot. So hot that when I went out to water the herbs I realized that the parsley was dying off completely and totally, that the water in the watering can was hot to the touch, and that the oregano was having a dying spree. So John and I moved the whole planter into the shade of one of the trees. The tree won't mind, and it'll probably even like all the overflow of water from the daily watering for the herbs.
So hot I was just panting all day, fighting the heat and meandered into the house and we even turned on the air conditioning for the first time since we'd gotten here. The best thing was that the a.c. even took care of the humidity, which was actually fairly high, in the mid-40's. Fezzik was even worse off, until we filled his wading pool and got him to sit in it. Then he was running around the porch, pounding about and bouncing and playing with us. Amazing what a difference getting him wet does.
I just putzed about listlessly most of the day. Read some of The Woodwife by Terri Windling. It interested me even as it just made me want to bang my head against a wall. It's good writing, good characters, and a very interesting plot. The main, fundamental problem I had with it had to do with the forcing of English/British fairy onto SouthWest mythology and tribal memes. It even gave a reason that this should be so, but the whole thing just made my teeth grind even as I enjoyed the story and the characters. It's not like I don't put my own memes on every belief system known to mankind, and it's not like the author wasn't aware of what she did or even explicit about it. For some reason it just ground at something at the base of me that made it really hard to read.
The one thing that I did get out of it is a key, though.
A key to why I've been restless, feeling out-of-place, unhappy and uneasy for the last couple of weeks. Before DAC, I was attributing it to being unhappy about traveling, but the traveling, itself, proved to me that I could do it and that it really wasn't that much of a problem in any way. Even after I got back, as soon as I was rested enough, I was restless again. Unhappy.
Since getting back from DAC, it's also been hot. Not dry hot, but muggy, mildly humid hot with no escape except at work. Not as hot, at night, as it could been and even has been in Seattle, but hot, hot, hot during the day so that I felt laid open to a harshness I didn't want to know. High desert heat, where the sun feels like it's peeling my flesh from my bones and headaches float in and out of my head. Real summer.
It's not like I haven't been in this kind of heat before, either. San Diego, LA, and Indiana had summers at least as hot as this, if not hotter.
The thing I realized, from the book, was that I was homesick, though, for the first time in my wandering life. I'd always kind of thought of wherever my people were as 'home', that I'd never really fixed my heart on a place, before Redmond/Seattle. That I'd never been in one place long enough to have friends so root deep that I'd actually kept them very long after I'd moved away. I'm keeping my Seattle friends, since most of them are on the Internet and I interact with them every day. But I've lost the city.
Lost the forests; the slow, steady rain; Alaska Airlines and all its conveniences, which I still think is the best in the business; the culture; Marymoore park; the Issaquah Alps; the quick hops to San Jose; the quirky, politically involved people; the food; the ocean and the sound and the lakes and the ground water and the rivers; lost the salmon in the stream; the frogs in the ponds; and the great blue heron that used to fly from by our barn. I've lost my real, first, solid home that I thought we'd stay in forever, or at least until we'd paid it off...
I'm out in the middle of the mid-West. Out in the middle of nothing, by mountains I don't know with the Great Plains stretching out far beyond the limits of eyesight. In desert and sunshine and lack of everything I've held so dear when I thought it was the last place I'd ever be. I'm actually homesick.
It was an odd thing to realize.
I haven't ever had a place, before, that I really called my very own before that. Things changed often enough that my roots were never that deep. I thought they never would be. I really thought this move would be easier on me than on John; but I was really wrong. He's been going gang-busters since we got here. I'm just moping around these last few weeks, bummed out but not really aware of why.
I think I'm going to have to work a bit on figuring out why and how I can love things here, too, if I'm staying for a while.
Some things are helping. The sheep in the pasture near our place, with their llama and dog. The shaggy, Scottish style bulls with their all-white calf. There's bison in a pen near the dirt road by our place, huge, shaggy beasts with a field full of grass and a pond along one side. They're always around. A fixture of sorts and it's cool to see them every day to see how they're doing, something that's cool every day.
John got tickets for the Rockies, today, and so we went into Denver around 4 p.m.. Left Fezzik with his wading pool outside, and drove into Denver with lots of sunscreen on and braced for the brilliant sun and heat we had at the house.
It was cloudy over the city.
There was also a brisk wind; but it was still hot, hot there. Hot enough that an ice cream store was nearly unbearable with all the heat that the freezers were pumping out; but I needed something cold, anything, and got myself a strawberry shake. We wandered down the 16th Street Mall, as the Denverites call it and I was mildly disappointed after knowing Boulder's Pearl Street Mall. It's commercial, normal downtown kinds of stores, with not all that much to marvel over. Though we did stop at the Bridge Mall, which was a bridge over one of the main streets in downtown, and we wandered through it and found a game store with lots of Zome. We bought a big kit of them, for work, of course, and then wandered back to a brew-pub that looked intimately related to the Walnut Street brewery in Boulder. Good food, good beer, and we partook of both fairly quickly in the bar. Service was good and quick and friendly.
We parked and walked and got to the baseball stadium just as it was turning 7 p.m. and when we got seated with out lemonade, the players were already out on the field, the line-ups were on the big-screen, and they were started.
It was a pretty good game. Not brilliant, though the Rockies did a good bit of hitting in the second inning, and they won it in the end. The best thing, though, was the venue. Outdoors. The way baseball should be played. John marveled at it all, vowed to return to Seattle when the Mariners were playing OutDoors, the only way baseball should be played. It was a beautiful night, too, after the sun went beyond the edge of the ballpark, though the late, late sun blinded the first basemen a few times, and even 'caused the Padres first baseman to drop the ball twice in one inning. That was when the Rockies scored a lot.
The game ended on a good note, with the Rockies doing very well, so that was cool.
Then we sat around and waited for the stands under the fireworks to be emptied of people. They all went onto the field. The players' kids started to romp around on the baseball diamond, running hither and tither and yon. With some of the kids discovering the resin bag by the pitchers' mound. The resin wasn't coming off their hands, and one kid was scrubbing his hands on the grass to get it off. It was kinda fun to watch them racing about.
When the fireworks actually started, it turned out that the overhang, which had protected us from the sun when it was high, also shielded us from any view of the fireworks, so we zoomed out of the stadium and found a nice, park bench just outside that had a great view of the fireworks.
I think that in the Mid-west, since there is open sky, no rain, and lots of open space without too much that's alive or growing, that they do much more spectacular fireworks shows than in Seattle. That was a cool thing to discover, all the bright beauties I'd never seen before. Heart-shaped explosions, willow-tree like ones where the falling trailers seemed to last entire minutes, the bright anemonea shapes, and shells that trailed falling-star glitters all the way up before exploding into a small explosion. Really cool stuff in blue and red and purple and green. They did all the classical musical selections too, Sousa, blues, and ending with the 1912 Overture, as ever, with the explosions synching with the canon. The finale had so many shells it turned the night sky bright and completely drowned out the music, a rising column of fountaining lights that only got brighter and brighter before it gradually died out, sparks showering down.
We got out fairly quickly, and even on the 3rd, the number of shows we could see in the flat distances was pretty impressive. With all the flat and being able to see in all directions, we were able to see half a dozen different shows just ending with our entrance onto I-25. Traffic was fairly thick, but not too bad. It was a bare three blocks to the freeway, and we got there fairly quickly after we got through the line to get out of our parking lot. Once on the freeway it was free running to get us home.
John went directly to sleep. I made the mistake of reading a 'little bit more' of The Woodwife on the bathroom floor. Finished it and then re-read the tail end of it, then threw it across the bathroom, which woke John and Fezzik started barking, so I went out, petted Fezzik and got ready to go to sleep and then re-read the tail end of it and was still jarred by the juxtapositions and moral frameworks colliding into an odd kind of judgement.
Though there is something to be said for the quality of writing that kept me up until 3:40 in the morning. Though that might just have been me waiting for the night to cool off. I'm not sure which.