Summer in Extremis

by Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove

Thank you, Hamish (Comments, last week) for the reminder to stop and let normal life happen.   It will all keep on without us, won’t it.  Until it doesn’t.  And around the table may be the very best place to talk about what lies below and above this daily carnival – or not.  Will someday see you at the pub.

Yesterday in Niagara

I bussed to Toronto yesterday and while moving along the QEW, the bus seemed to enter a cloud of mist, not rain but with drops on the windows.  The colours inside and outside altered and the mood of we passengers shifted to something quiet.  I had to pick up a pencil.

The yellow gray sky lies around us,

as we slide down the highway

a’buzz with morning traffic.

The smoky dark at the edges of that sky

Says somebody’s in for it – a hard rain’s a gonna fall.

A relief for farmers, the keepers of the glorious grapes.

This year whole crops have failed

Under the blistering blanket of sun-heat.


Has it been a good one for big city dwellers,

Somewhat less connected to the land?

Depends who you are!

Hate the heat, love the heat.

Let alone how subject you are

to the modest comfort of strategically-placed fans,

shifting hot air around the room,

versus the balm of big time A/C –

oh, how devoutly to be desired

regardless of the harm, harm, harm.

A good nights sleep and a bit of sun on the weekend?

City dwellers’ recipe for being right with the world.


The Culture of Heat: will we grow more used to its rythmns?

Behaviour Modification by Temperature.

Scan for shady spots,

Evening walks only.  Or in the malls.

Small children splashing, caretakers hugging the shade.

Rules of vanity and modest are abandoned

As hitherto covered body parts

Give way to bold unveiling;

Take it off!

We are too damned hot to even look at each other.

Eating?  Appetite has escaped.

We want wet.  And cut the grease.

Cool and crunchy, slippery and liquid.

Shepherd’s Pie banished to October.


But the watered gardens are rich,

Abundant with excess green from

June rains and July’s endless sun.

By November, we may look upon this summer

As a miracle, as we often do.

And the familiar world will move into another extreme.


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Filed under A Bigger Circle, Rosemary's entries

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