Right now, it is eighty-nine degrees. I am at my desk, having lunch (chicken sandwich, for those keeping track of these things) and food is helping my mood somewhat. There is an overhead fan in my office but I haven’t turned it on yet, because it’s also connected to the light, and I haven’t figured out yet if I want the moving air more than I want the extra heat from the lightbulb. Probably negligible heat, but still a factor.
I don’t do well in heat. I had heat stroke when I was twenty-two, and, ever since, I’ve had to take precautions when the temperatures soar. Normally, my Mondays are the days to tuck in and make sure everything is ready for critique meeting with N. I love those mornings, enough that, if I need to make Monday a marathon writing/revising day, I will do that. I can always nap on Tuesday afternoon, and there will be enough of a caffeine buzz from the endless cups of tea (hot in cold weather, iced in hot) to carry me through the meeting, and the feeling from a really good critique is enough to put an extra perk in my steps. That’s all normally. This week isn’t normal.
Early last week, I made note of the weather forecast. Three days in a row, ninety degrees or above? Definitely worthy of notice. Since the weekend, tightly scheduled, overlapped with the first of those days, I knew, even last week, that Monday was not going to be a good day to get a lot of work done. I’d be tired (yep) and stressed (yep) and walking through the park in over-ninety degree temperatures would not be in my best interests. I asked N if we could meet on Thursday, and she agreed. Okay. That’s some breathing room. Not an excuse to slack off, but breathing room, to take into account that I’m going to have the brains of a bowl of butterscotch pudding during the heat of the day for Monday and Tuesday. Much better to use that time for taking in, rather than putting out.
Today, I have Season Two of Poldark. I have my travel mug full of ice water, a fully charged Kindle, and a hardcover book club edition of Shanna, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. There’s a box fan in the living room, next to my comfy chair (and the window seat) and another in the bedroom. Skye will hang with me, wherever I am, and, if I need some white space in my brain, I can play in an art journal, which might play nicely with Poldark or other viewing. I have my first draft pages and notebook at hand as well, and it’s more likely than not that I will pick them up at some point in all of this, my brain moving things from back burner to front. Not that I’m turning the stove on in this weather. I’m not a masochist.
Yesterday, when I walked home from Panera (after four hours of quality time with a friend I need to see more often) the sun had begun to dip below the horizon, and the temperatures had fallen to a brisk eighty-five degrees. Condensation from my cold drink seeped through the napkin I had wrapped around it. My friend and I walked together as far as the park, where our paths diverged. Her apartment was in one direction, mine in the other, and we each headed home. My path took me along the lake. A female mallard paddled out from the shore, followed by six fuzzy baby ducks. There are few things more peaceful than a bunch of baby ducks paddling after their mama, on a summer night.
I did not get a picture. Mama duck headed back for her hideyhole, and the babies followed. I’m okay with that. Now I know where they like to hang out at that time of day, when the sun goes down and is no longer trying to kill me with its fiery blaze. It’s like that with taking a rest day. Even if I don’t get to Hero and Heroine today (though I suspect I will, even if not at a Marathon Monday level) they’ll be there. I know where they hang out, and they know where to find me. We can’t quit each other, and I am more than okay with that.