even if i have said it a thousand times i will say it once more: ray bradbury is a genuis. if you have never read his works then i highly suggest that you stop what you’re doing, go to a bookstore or library and acquire dandelion wine, fahrenheit 451, the martian chronicles, the illustrated man. take time to soak in his rich tapestry of words, the ever-growing and ageless tree of his brilliant ideas, stories that reach from the depths of space to the abyss of the human soul. i am always amazed. read read read. i just finished a short story so mind-blowingly beautiful that at its conclusion i actually leapt out of my seat and jumped around the patio.
if the recent news has eluded you, then let me tell you of how stupidly hot it has been of late. in the mid nineties, which isn’t such a marvel in itself, but with all the humidity and everything, a destructive 110+. for me hailing from a land of incredibly mild summers, rarely reaching into the mid eighties, this has been a bit of a change. but i have often fared better than i had originally expected, and only once have i had to warn someone that the heat sets my frustration level dangerously low. still the giant wet oven that is the outside has sapped a considerable amount of my energies and motivation. the weeks before the worst of the summer hit hard were very productive; now i fear that i may explode if i step out of air conditioning land and my mind has turned to mush. as one friend put it, i stepped outside and my glasses melted. and i start to wonder how many gallon jugs josh and i could fill with our sweat in a day at work.
before the tyrannical sun covered our fair land with its oppression, i spent my cooler evenings out at the arboretum, climbing all the trees i could without the aid of a rope, just me and my mildly acrobatic wiles. i plant feet on trucks and launch myself to the lowest branches, swinging back and forth to build momentum to heave myself even higher. i get things thrown at me by squirrels. i rip up my forearms, i sweat like a hog. i climb trees! i lay exhausted in spreading green carpets under the layered canopies of branches and read, catching in the corners of my eyes the fireflies rising up from their daytime hidings. i stand on the tops of man-made knolls, imagining hills i know to be bigger, and am blown away by the western explosion screaming the sinking of the sun to the farthest horizon. i look east to see the great globe of our friendly moon rising to rule the night. low to the horizon it is massive, brilliant, glowing a deep radioactive orange, mighty and strong, and it leads me home.
but the heat has ceased these activities. it is exceedingly hard to work up the desire to ride several miles to repeatedly use every muscle in your body when you sweat profusely in the first ten seconds of being outside.
and so i miss washington more than ever. i live with a sickly, bubbling longing for mountains, forests, rocks, rivers, lakes, night temperatures below 85 degrees. never has it felt more distant. sometimes this builds in me an insanity that i cannot easily contain. it makes me want to listen to angry music and break things. it’s nice that i work at a place where we often receive old garbage dishes from old people that i get to smash in our giant dumpster if i so desire. there’s something about glass shattering that soothes the soul.
on that note, i am constantly amazed at the sort of things that are donated to salt and light. i mean, who really goes through their stuff and thinks, maybe the poor people in town need the empty cases to playstation 2 games, or perhaps this old pillow covered in mold and cat hair, or maybe someone has a use for a rusted candle stand from the dark ages, or possibly a box filled with cracked coffee mugs, bursting with stains and cobwebs. oh yes, thank you helpful citizens of champaign-urbana for your support in giving the working poor around you things they can be proud of and use well, things that are clean and in good working condition so that it will actually help them in their lives. thanks for going through your grandmother’s garage and donating to us all the garbage that no one wanted anymore and that should clearly have gone to the dumpster. if you were wondering, the last two sentences were highly sarcastic. i just wonder what people are thinking.
this week at work we are shutting down operations to intensively clean everything and anything and get some projects done. and then some staff break time. i can’t wait for this because we will be going canoeing and hiking in a big park in indiana. i miss canoeing. i also miss having work to do from the moment i wake up to the moment i go to my cabin at night. and yet camp firwood on the shores of the beautiful lake whatcom continues, for the first time in seven consecutive summers without me. that is strange to think about. steph and i have decided we are going to save up money to be intentional about making journeys to the corners of the midwest that actually have things i can climb on. oh dear, the maddening antsiness is coming back….