The heat defines summer


It is the heat that defines us this time of year. Defines our sweaty days with the brassy skies and afternoons that make us clamor for shade. The heat gives us an excuse to make June the biggest beer-drinking month of the year and returns certain words to our vocabularies: cooler pads, swampers, squirrel cages.

The days themselves aren’t much fun, and we pity those who spend the days working outdoors, even as we envied them in the soft warmth of spring. The heat is an entity now, an oppressive, overbearing beast that weighs on our brains and taxes our body.

It’s the price we pay each summer for living in such a beautiful place. But there is a payoff.

When the sun goes down in desert areas, it’s romantic enough to hug a cactus.

The recipe is simple. Keep the earth warm, but just bring out the stars and a soft breeze that cools the skin. Mix this with a fulmination of little night varmint sounds of peeping and chirping and croaking. And guitars. Whether we play them ourselves or just turn on the radio, it is a setting that is perfect for guitars. Villalobos, Fernando Sor, Tarrega, Randy Travis, Doc Watson.

We sit in brick-paved patios with something cool and someone sweet and relax and talk about dreams, because on evenings like this, anything is possible. On nights like this, it’s difficult to decide whether remembering evenings like this in the past is better than anticipating those to come. All we really know is that it sure is nice to be here right now.

A high desert evening is a testament to the good things of life. Iced tea tastes better, showers feel more refreshing, neighbors seem nicer. There they are, out on the porch with all the kids. Ah, those wonderful kids … well, yes, they’re the same ones we complained about in March, but on a night like this one, all is forgiven. Let’s wave back.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can remember all the words to “Little Joe the Wrangler” and find out if my guitar is still in tune.


Hear Windy’s Words of Wisdom each week on the Home Country podcast:

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