The Solstice has passed. The Longest Day of The Year. Now we start a slow, almost imperceptible downhill slide into the maw of winter.
A few weeks ago, we experienced unusually warm weather for us here in The Bowl. The last time I remember it being in the 90’s was about 5 or 6 years ago. I recall it being a bit hotter than it is now, temps being in the mid 90’s vs the low 90’s. I never gave much thought as to 4 or 5 degrees making a difference–especially when you get into the higher digits–but it does, on both ends of the spectrum, be it hot or cold. Fortunately, it’s very pleasant outside on the deck in the shade–exceptionally low humidity and stiff winds keep one cool. The problem comes from the house heating up during the day. We have to wait until nightfall for the desert cold to sink in and cool things down. We are lucky if there’s a bit of a breeze at that time of night, normally it’s dead calm out so cooling the house is difficult at best. It would be wonderful if I could sleep with the slider to my room open, and some nights I can, but on the weekends for whatever reason, all the dogs in the neighborhood bark until after midnight sometimes. It’s very frustrating because these are dogs relegated to back yards. They don’t appear to be household members. I never see anyone in this neighborhood walking or paying any attention to their exclusively outdoor dogs. One neighbor commonly goes out-of-town and leaves the dogs out in the dark all weekend, which obviously freaks them out as evident by their endless baying. Why have dogs if you never interact with them and they are simply poop generators for your yard? It makes no sense to someone who plans activities with and around her dogs to include multiple daily forays into nature, swimming and other activities too numerous to mention. I enjoy interacting with my dogs. Watching them be dogs, seeking those things in nature which they evolved to seek, brings me great joy–feelings and sensations I cannot describe to non dog people for their utter lack of understanding of these things would cause it to appear as though I’m crazy.
As spring winds down to the first day of summer– the longest day of the year–I have to consciously remember that the long warm days will linger into fall in order to keep from bumming over the fact that now the days will march inexorably toward winter, a time I do not care for. But just as the Winter Solstice marks the gradual lengthening of days which seems to take an eternity to be noticed, so it will be as the days of summer shorten imperceptibly. As it is, last night I noticed the sky still soft with light to the West as I readied for bed and it begins to get light around 4:00 a.m. This is excessive even for me but it sure beats getting up in the dark and waiting hours for the first streak of light to stagger in and initiate the day. I don’t mind getting up at 5;00 and seeing the sun already shining into the house. Even in my groggy stupor it feels like I’ve overslept and wasted the morning until I look at the oven clock. Plenty of time to get things done.
This year the pine pollen is ubiquitous and troubling. Troubling because I am allergic to it and if I neglect to take my antihistamine early I suffer all day with running nose and eyes. Before procuring a new eye drop prescription, some days all I could do was lay on the couch with a wet cloth over my eyes. It hurt to even open them.This does not fit into my active lifestyle. The pollen coats everything in the house and leaves a yellow veil over floors and furniture, making dusting an exercise in futility and frustration. I detest the yellow coating on all of my stuff but I also detest dusting each day, most notably when 2 hours later it appears as if that work was never done or even contemplated. The pollen also collects in little piles on the floors where it eddies out with the cool morning breezes. I can shut my house up for the day but still the pollen insinuates itself into my home–seemingly through the very walls themselves–to once again deliver a fresh coating of yellow over all that lies in its path. The dog pool seethes with it. It looks like pollen soup and it’s hard to tell if it’s the pollen or the dust from the girls that make it look more like a livestock tank than a maintained swimming pool. Probably a combo platter. The water is as warm as a bath now and the girls can swim until they tire, or so I’d suppose because I haven’t seen them tire yet but I do after about 20 minutes of ball throwing. I have to admit the pool serves dual functions: that of providing swimming pleasure for the girls and also it cleans them of the days’ grit and grime before coming in to the house. It is very dirty and dusty here, and with the dry, static-y air, the fine mountain dirt sticks stubbornly to fur coats. The pool has negated many a bath for Kip and Rolo. One would think that animals that derive such glee from swimming wouldn’t have a problem with a bath, but it must be the fact that a bath is too planned or maybe it is the shampoo or just the passing of hands all over parts normally not handled that they are objecting to. No one knows for certain, all we can do is speculate, but everyone knows the look I am referring to: ears down, tails tucked as though some heinous torture is soon forthcoming–something involving pain or deprivation or perhaps a combination of both. Even the word “bath” evokes panic and my dogs will disappear into the most unlikely places to avoid the process. I’m sure the dread of the thing is far worse than the thing itself, like getting a colonoscopy or going to the dentist for us.
So as summer and the longest day of the year now sit squarely in my rear view mirror, I try to concentrate on the plethora of long, warm days that still await me, rather than the fact that the countdown to winter is starting. As always, if I emulate my dogs and remain grounded in the present, the very moment I am in right now, nothing else is really relevent. It’s a nice place to be– as nice as any summer day.