22 tagged with #summer

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i once read a description of the weather here as dithering a one-bit system; in short, we only experience winter or summer, with daily or hourly fluctuations during transitional periods that average out to a more mild season.

today, our house lost power, briefly, and we suspect thousands of air conditioning units simultaneously switching on as the culprit. years ago, my parents and i stayed at a mid-atlantic beach house that similarly lost power during a sudden heat wave, so we decamped to a resort village down the street and pretended to care about luxury fur purses in order to cool off in their emergency generator-fed climate control systems.

year after year, i grow steadily more unhappy with the realization that my neighbors running their air conditioning makes my building hotter. sometimes i walk through alleyways of window units tetrised around each other, each one quivering with the strain of ripping heat out of one side and pushing heat into the other. hot breath, hot breath, in each other's faces. trash drawn in catches thermals and float into the sky; birds pluck them out and tuck those waxy sandwich wrappers into their own nests.

i don't need to read about dystopian nightmares anymore.

02 May 2018 22:38


on april 16th, i filled an egg carton with good dirt and put four seeds into each pod. i labeled one side 'brocc' and the other side 'sprouts', for broccoli and brussel's sprouts, respectively; a dozen pods, 24 seeds of each type.

a week later, each pod had sprouted at least one curious leaf; several sprouted all four. one sprouted something unrecognizeable. i smiled.

over the next month, i prepared a space for them in the yard. i turned up sod, mixed in compost from the previous year's worth of yard and kitchen waste, marked off rows, put up chicken wire to deter ground-walking munchers.

yesterday, may 22nd, i had a bad scare after looking at my sprouts; all of them fell flat from dehydration. over the weekend, i had forgotten to give them attention, because i could hardly take care of myself. seedlings need a little bit of attention every day, and i had let them down.

i watered them apologetically and looked to the sky, hoping that the weather would break soon and let me introduce them to the earth.

today, i put my hands in the soil and smelled the richness of a month's worth of spring rain, microorganic work, and aspirations. it was time; i pulled the egg carton out and inspected it. a few of them had responded to my apology.

i only had enough plots prepared today for six plantings, so i took the three best candidates from each side. the pods with multiple viable seedlings will eventually be thinned to one; from 48 seeds, six plants will be coddled into maturity. i made little pits with a trowel, then carefully pressed each puck of dirt and seedling into the indentations.

dirt responds best to hands. i put my hands against the cool soil and felt the density of each mound, pressing drainage channels and slowly massaging bunkers around each seedling to shelter them. 'thank you,' i whispered to each one i chose. 'thank you for working hard. thank you for pressing upwards. here is the earth and there is the sky; you are now between them and a part of them. do your best. i love you.'

those cells have never touched the earth and have never seen the sun. they sit there now, poking out of the ground like periscopes. their roots will burrow further than i will ever see, and draw matter from the soil to create more of themselves to give to the sky.

if i am worthy, i will eat some of them in the future.

23 May 2016 20:41


When we first moved to this house, moths visited the bathrooms every night through the summer and early fall. We kept the screenless window open for ventilation, and they flew towards the globe light bulbs above the mirror, spinning in circles around and around and landing on the tile to slurp spilled bathwater. I crawled after them with a camera and a macro lens, setting up lights and speaking gently to them. A different, new species appeared almost every night.

I've read that moths navigate by lunar pull, a sense for the position of lights and bodies beyond the atmosphere that goes beyond what our eyes can tell us. They get confused when lights are too close, and their long, careful inscription of the night turn into frantic tight circles when they breach humanity's fear of the dark. The lights here disrupt them. Things we need to survive disrupt things we can't understand. We have a right to be here, too.

I found Clarence after days of seeing bug dirt scattered under the geranium pot, and I wasn't ready to glimpse a white bristly worm in the corner of my eye while watering the tomatoes. I've never understood my aversion to looking at caterpillars enough to learn how to overcome it, so I startled and so did Clarence.

Maybe it's giving him a name and making him a friend; maybe it's missing the moth visiting the bathroom. After that first summer here, we rarely saw moths again. After a bit of a cooldown, I went to inspect Clarence again, and he reared up and shook at me until I retreated again. I wonder if that tactic works as well for the robins circling the porch as it does for me.

01 July 2014 23:14

Not Sunday

A long, rainy day. There are few days when I do not leave the house. But they are the days when I lock myself inside my head in an attempt to pry out the thoughts I need to put together.

I've managed to separate the need for pleasure from the need of food, such that I can eat for the pure utility of putting nutrients into my body, regardless of what those nutrients are. I used to wonder how my father could stand to eat plain white rice with plain vegetables and lukewarm water; as time goes on, I become my parents.

That thought used to scare me. It doesn't anymore; it almost becomes a note of pride when I observe it.

Hard boiled eggs are to be eaten in one gulp, whole, unseasoned, with the shell casually peeled away. It's okay if it crunches a little. I needed to clear out the weeks-old celery that doesn't even snap with crispness. Empty cans of cheap lager stack up on my desk. I haven't even stood on the porch in hours.

It's summer. I'm flying away, soon.

I'll be back.

15 May 2014 21:17


This bicycle is not about how fast I am capable of going, but more about how fast I am willing to go, while keeping all of my weaknesses as a fleshy, breakable body in the back of my head.

I have a VIN in hand for a motorcycle promised to me when I get back into the states next month, and people call that my newest death machine.

I still don't have a graceful way to descend stairs on roller blades, but cannot resist the appeal of a smooth, silent glide powered by the subtle turns of the ankles.

When my neighbors' air conditioning units turn on, the alleyway rumbles with ancient oscillating fans, and I know that all they're doing is making the world beyond their rooms a sliver hotter. That's why the petty part of me smiles whenever I see their dog lifting a leg over the rusty old machines.

14 May 2014 23:56

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