Summer

by Lorin Michel Thursday, June 2, 2016 8:50 PM

We did not get a lot of rain this winter, not nearly as much as we were supposed to get according to the expert weather people. El Nino ended up being more or less a bust, especially for the southwest. The northwest got plenty of rain; we did not. We got some. We received a lot of cold. There were nights when we didn’t go out for sunset because it was simply too cold to sit on the deck. Every night that we did, we put on coats; sometimes gloves. And it was only 5:30.

The spring was not too bad though we’ve noticed that many of our desert creatures have arrived earlier this year than last. We don’t know what to attribute that to since we haven’t been here long enough to completely understand the workings of the desert. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. They’re here and as of today, it’s hot. “Africa hot” like Matthew Broderick’s character in Biloxi Blues said. So hot that stepping outside feels as if you’re stepping into an oven. 

I went out with Kevin to check on his grape vines. We’ve been having some issues with our vineyard. He’s doing everything right. The way they’re planted is the way they’re supposed to be planted; he’s watering them the way they’re supposed to be watered. The vines are a varietal that grows in the desert. But the first six died. The place we bought them from guarantees their vines, so they sent us six more. They’ve been in the ground for two weeks as of this afternoon. He’s taken pictures, he’s been in contact with the vendor, and they tell him he’s doing everything right. But they’re not growing. It’s frustrating. And sad. 

I told him I wanted to see what they were – or weren’t – doing, since I hadn’t been out to see them in a while. He waters three times a day, essentially morning, noon and night. He’s attentive, he’s diligent. He fairly hovers. I asked him to tell me when he was heading out to water.

After lunch, I heard him call my name. Well, actually, not my name. My nickname. 

“HB? I’m heading out.” 

HB stands for Hunny Bunny from the Amanda Plummer character who robs the diner in Pulp Fiction, our first movie date. I’m not sure when he started calling me that but it’s been years now. It’s even how he has me listed in his cell phone which would be a problem if anyone ever had to call his wife. 

But we don’t think or talk about that. 

I told him I’d be out in a minute, and went to grab my sunglasses. I can’t be outside during the day without sunglasses. It’s physically painful. I even wear them when it’s not that sunny out. But that was decidedly not the problem today. I put on my Maui Jim’s and pulled open the front door. The alarm system gave its telling beep-beep-beep and out I stepped. Into the inferno. 

I could feel the heat burning my skin, the prickliness of it, my hairs standing on end, searing. As hot as the air was, the road was even hotter. The pavement was radiating. It was nearly excruciating. We looked at the plants, and their lack there of growth. We discussed them; we wondered. And then we got the hell inside because hell was literally outside.

Last weekend was in the 70s. This weekend it will be 111º. Welcome to June in the summer in the desert. Something I’m sort of celebrating. Because air conditioning.

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