My phone says that it is 86 degrees outside right now, creeping up to a high of 90. It is sunny and humid. The air feels hotter and heavier than 86, or even 90. Drive north or south two hours from here, and the temperature climbs to the mid-nineties. It does no matter that school has been in session for a week now. The weather does not care that our hearts and minds are in autumn. The weather, after being so mild for so many months, has decided to be SUMMER. The very week after the pool has closed for the season.
Thank goodness for a powerful - if noisy - window air conditioner that chills my office in five minutes flat. And thermal water bottles filled with ice water. I'm wearing one of the lightest, coolest dresses that still fits over my belly, and my skin is cool to the touch. But the heat is still making itself known. The sun and humidity, even on the outside of my cool windows, manage to seep into my body and destroy my energy levels. My body feels heavy and tired in that way specific to summer languor.
Meanwhile, the exhausting effects of summer heat are lost on dear little hedgehog, who seems to have spent all day yesterday and the day before resting up for a day full of action. Thumps and tumbles and twitches galore today. This is endlessly amusing. With every strong movement, I stop what I'm doing, put my hand on my belly, and try to feel what's going on from the outside. Once I've done that, I move my hands and smooth my dress tight over my belly, and watch with curiosity to see whether any of the movements are big enough to see from the outside. (In case you were wondering, yes. Mostly tremors right now. No particular movements or body parts. But plenty of ripples and shakes.)
Today, I am feeling late August in my head and heart and bones. I would love nothing more than to give into the summer heat, turn off my computer, head home to the couch for an air-conditioned nap, interrupted only by long, lazy gazes at my belly, intervals of knitting, and having no housework or dinner plans other than eating strawberries and drinking ice water.
I do not like the heat, please don't get me wrong. I have no nostalgia for humid, sunny, sweaty summer, nor do I have patience for the stifling thickness in the air. But I do know that the hot days of summer are the days that force you to slow down, and make peace, however much you can, with being completely unproductive. The hot days of summer invite you to combat heat with laziness, the heavy ooziness of sinking into a chair in a cool room, your limbs and memory alike feeling heavy and immoveable.
And maybe, right now, the desire to sit and be slow, to focus all my energy on self-care, is a heat-induced desire to save up the quiet moments before hedgehog arrives and all changes. As impatient as I am for his/her arrival, part of my brain knows that the quiet parts of life are about to disappear, and that the luxury of laziness will come to an end. I think that part of me fears losing control over my own destiny - the ability to put off doing the dishes because I don't feel like it, and the ability to sit on the couch and do nothing if I so choose, and the ability to procrastinate.
I suspect my languishing mood will snap once the heat wave snaps, and I know that excitement about this baby already trumps all fears of change. But for today, I really wish that someone would look at me and my drowsy eyes, and tell me to go home, to put my feet up, to take it easy...and that I wouldn't feel guilty for doing so.
Because even though they showed up late, the dog days of summer have yet arrived. It is late August and heavy. And maybe the world would do well to slow itself down, even just for a few days.