Summer in the City (Different)

tempIf your neck’s feeling dirty and gritty and the sidewalk is hotter than a match head, you know you’re experiencing summer in the city in all its glory. Assuming grit and hot feet are glorious. I know plenty of people extol the virtues of summer (even ol’ John Sebastian saw the flip side, when you find that special someone and meet on the rooftop), but summer has always been my least-favorite season. That’s still true, though at least now I’m spending my summers in Santa Fe, and not mired in the heat and humidity of my previous homes, Connecticut and Chicago.

beach

Yeah, I’ll pass.

I’ve never quite understood the appeal of a season that can leave you dripping sweat at any hour of the day, if you’re not lucky enough to have central air or if you actually have to set food outside at some point. Of course, my bias is magnified because I’m not a beach person (potential risk of melanoma? Sand in everything? Jellyfish stings? Getting cramps and drowning, just as your mother warned you about? No thanks, bub). But unless you live at the beach, the cooler temperatures and soothing water can’t provide constant relief. Hence, the need to deal with summer where you spend most of your time, which for me means my home.

I know neither Chicago nor CT will rival the Deep South or truly tropical regions for life-draining humidity, but the heat waves that can stretch on for days and recur throughout the summer are bad enough. And then we have the other joy of those climes—the mosquito onslaught. Yes, there’s nothing like lying in bed in the middle of the night, hearing that telltale buzz, and debating whether to hunt the little sucker down before it feasts or wait for it to alight and then smack it good. Or, as in one CT town I lived in, there’s nothing like hearing the sound of that familiar truck coming down the street, a sure sign of summer—the whooshing made by the insecticide sprayed all around. That’s one truck the kiddies won’t be chasing.

Aside from the natural challenges summer has presented in the past, I think my associating the season with some of my most awful moments doesn’t put it in a good light. There was August 1988, when I came home from surgery and sat in the apartment in the midst of a heat wave. Even better was the summer of 2010—my wife had just left me, I was prone to spontaneous crying jags while curled up on the floor, bedbugs had invaded the home, the humidity was oppressive,  and the temperature inside never went below the upper 80s. Fun times.

railyard

Summer in Santa Fe means tons o’ outdoor music.

My emotional health of late has been almost as precarious as it was in that last summer from hell. But this time there is one big difference: I’m spending it in Santa Fe. Now, our little city is far from perfect, but as I tell anyone who doesn’t walk away as I once again sing its praises, Santa Fe has some sweet weather. Let’s start with the biggie for the summertime: no humidity. When dewpoints in New England soar to those sticky and energy-sucking 70s, we’re rarely seeing anything above the still-comfortable mid-50s (and yes, it is the dewpoint, not the relative humidity, that tells us how sticky things are). And as far as mosquitoes—I can sit in my backyard well past sunset and there’s nary a skeeter in sight. In almost eight years, I’ve never gotten one bite.

Sunset2

The end of another beautiful Santa Fe day.

I was thinking about all of this as I sat out the other evening on my insect-free patio, listening to music and watching birds taking their last day’s turn at the feeder. An evening after a day when I was outside enjoying temps in the mid-80s, a light breeze, and a big, beautiful sky. Yes, the monsoon rains can sometimes put a damper on activities, and the hail can ravage farmers’ fields. But not often. Not enough to dissuade me from thinking that if I have to endure summers somewhere, this is not a bad place to be.  Even if I won’t have someone meeting me on the rooftop.

~ by mburgan on July 30, 2019.

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