the rituals of summer
the cicadas are already sounding their trademark call. it is just 9:00 a.m. and i have turned on the evaporative cooler for the day.
i savor the small steps i take each year as we approach our climatic apogee, always leaving something in reserve for the hottest days and nights. first, i'll turn the cooler on during the day. i also leave the back door open so the dogs can avail themselves of the tile floor in the kitchen while i am out. at nights i have a couple of little vornado-type fans: one for my room, and one for the kitchen. i sleep with the lightest of blankets--just to be able to remove it later in the season.
next step, in a week or so, i'll add running the fan part of the cooler all night. the floor fan will be temporarily retired. the blanket will come off the bed.
in the very peak of monsoon (chubasco) humidity and insanely hot nights, i'll have the cooler going 24/7, and the floor fan aimed straight at my bed at night, where i will toss and turn on a sweat-soaked sheet, trying to get a night's rest.
but all of this is just normal Sonoran desert living. i look around the country, around the world, and feel blessed that we are just dealing with our usual seasonal events, and not tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc.
the monsoon always holds the possibility of extremes though. we have a reputation as being one of the lightning capitals of the country, and lots of rain can always mean flooding, especially here where the ground is so dry that water can't really penetrate. the sudden violence of the storms here is humbling. we will know it soon enough.
this is my 6th "fatherless" year. i finally believe i have put Marshall's life and death into perspective within the scope of my own life (and impending death). this year i find myself thinking less of my father and more of the men who have fathered my son.
of course the biological one comes first, and he is a fine and wonderful man and father, but my son's godfather--who acted as sole guardian during B's tumultuous teens--did so much of the shaping and guiding during those years. he is a true mensch!
i can get teary-eyed in a moment, thinking of that time of all of our lives: why i wasn't there, how well everyone did in spite of that fact, the things i will never know about B's adolescence, the despair i continue to feel occasionally about my choices. i guess in a sense, if that is the biggest mistake i make in this life, then thank goodness i've gone and gotten it over with. on the other hand....well, there is no point in following that trajectory. i love my son, and he has had 2 of the best fathers in the world, and he makes me proud every time i see him. that's what i'm keeping.
and so, bless the fathers: the ones that scatter their seed and then blow away with the next strong gust, the ones that stay and help, the ones that lash out, the ones that fume internally. they all show us a way, a choice, an avenue of expression--or not.