Friday, September 9, 2016

Hot, Hot, Hot!

We had a few days of cool weather with lovely breezes, thanks to Hurricane Hermine.  But the hot, humid weather is back.

This morning, I picked up Sybille Bedford's book A Visit to Don Otavio.  On page 6 of my edition, she describes this weather much better than I ever could.

     "It was steaming like a Chinese laundry, the heat hit us on the head like a club.  Summer in the large American cities is an evil thing.  It is negative, relentless and dead.  It is very hot.  The heat, radiated by concrete and steel, is synthetic, involuntarily man-made, another unplanned by-product of the industrial revolution.  The urban heat grows nothing;  it does not warm, it only torments.  It hardly seems to come from the sky.  It has none of the charm and strength of the sun in a hot country. It is neither part of nature nor of life, and life is not adapted to it and nature recedes.  In spirit and in fact, in architecture and habits, the eastern seaboard of the United States remains harshly northern, a cold country scourged by heat.
     Through the day a grey lid presses upon the city of New York.  At sunset there is no respite.  Night is an airless shaft;  in the dark the temperature still rises;  heat is emanating invisible from everywhere, from underfoot, from above, from the dull furnaces of saturated stone and metal.  The hottest point is reached in the very kernel of the night:  each separate inhabitant lies alone, for human contact is not to be endured, on a mattress enclosed in a black hole of Calcutta till dawn goes up like a soiled curtain on the unrefreshed in littered streets and rooms.
     This kind of suffering is quite pointless.  It does not harden the physique, it just wears it out.  Yet it goes on.  Clerks dream of deep cold lakes, of a camp in the Adirondacks, a fishing shack in Maine where, the myth goes, you have to sleep under a blanket."

Yes, that's just what it's like.

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