Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Reya and Goliath
Code Orange air pollution today negates all that follows. Damn!
Summer has arrived in Washington DC with a big ole hot, humid thud. Spring was perfect, but I don't feel sad to see it slip away. Long gone are the tulips, daffodils and blooming trees. Whatever blooms from now on has to be tough - or else. The mad orgy of pollen is done. I'm good with that, I really am.
Summer here in the swamp is enormous, monumental. Summer in DC is hard-core. As a person who really does not do well in high humidity and heat, the fact that I enjoy summer in DC is ironic - or at least paradoxical. But it's true: I love the intensity of summer here so much. It just doesn't quit; a quality I admire in people, animals and even the weather. I can relate to intensity because it's a part of my nature, too.
Engaging with a DC summer takes skill and finesse. I would never, not ever, try to pretend it isn't too hot, I would never try to do all the things I do during the rest of year. That would simply be ridiculous. But neither do I resign myself to hiding inside air conditioned spaces at all times. How sad would that be?
Part of my strategy around living well in summertime is practical: I don't cook much, I just eat salads, mostly. I wear clothes that I don't mind sweating through. I take at least two showers a day, and I spend a lot more time on my bike than on foot because as long as the bike is moving, there will always be a breeze. Of course when I stop riding, the rush of heat is rather spectacular, but that's why I put my water bottle into the freezer between bike rides, so I always have ice cold water at the ready. I drink the water, but I'm also not averse to pouring it on my head. Ice water is my sling shot, the secret weapon I use when engaging with our Goliath-like summer heat.
To get through a summer in DC, one must let go of the urge to look good. One must understand that it's not possible to always be as fresh as a daisy; it's not going to be like that. I think of that line from Jolie Holland's song "Black Stars," The fallen glory of my ego is laid at the feet of our purposes. Oh yeah. I might look like hell, but so what? The fallen glory of my ego serves my need to get out there, even on the hottest days.
I enjoy tilting against the weather, but not too much. If I get too stupid, then it's not fun anymore. When it's time to get out of the sun and heat, I seek refuge in movie theaters, cafes, and Smithsonian museums. Yesterday at mid-day, for instance, I went to see the Gauguin exhibit again. I was actually slightly chilly by the time I left. The wall of heat and light slapped me hard when I finally emerged. What a rush!
Summer's fun in Washington DC. Yay summer. Welcome!!
Inside the East Wing of the National Gallery.