Friday, August 28, 2015

A Hint of the Cool

I stepped out the door at about 6:15 AM on Monday and found it refreshingly cool. It’s been a long, hot summer. That’s not unusual for us down here; I can’t say it’s been much different than any of our other summers as far as the heat goes. It has been, however, a drier summer than we are used to. The big creek at the Flatwoods nature preserve near our house is almost totally dry. There’s only one pocket of water left, and it is rapidly disappearing. I’ve never seen it this low since we moved into our place in 2006. We’ve been putting out some water for the birds and other critters in our back yard.

I’m glad to see the worst heat behind us, although we’ll still have some pretty brutal days. I’ve never been one to particularly mind the cold, although I’ve always lived in the south where the colder temperatures seldom get to the extreme. In the time I’ve been in Louisiana, it has only gone below ten degrees once, and that was a cold snap that lasted several days. I’ve seen snow about three times since 1986, two of those since we moved to the Northshore after Hurricane Katrina. The snow has never lingered more than a few hours.

Frankly, I rather enjoy cold temperatures, at least as long as I can eventually find a place to get warm. Down here, I tend to wear short sleeve shirts year around, although in the coldest period of our year, usually January-February, I may pair the shirt with a windbreaker when I’m outside. During our “winter,” which has to be put in quotation marks for those who might mistake it for a real winter, I often get asked by people at school: “Aren’t you cold?” This is because they are wearing a heavy coat and gloves while I’m still wearing my t-shirt.  These days I just respond with: “Aren’t you hot?”

Just like how, sometimes, I feel as if I were born out of time, I often feel as if I were born out of place. Maybe I should have been a Neanderthal in Ice Age Europe.

Come to think of it, maybe I was.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Always amazed how different our parts of the country are. It was 52 here this morning. We have had a cool, wettish summer. Barely any days over 90. Not so good for vacations with swimming.

Unknown said...

Yes, the cooler temps are here also (further south and east from you). I've lived all over the world, and I think I prefer something more tropical (e.g., Caribbean). My time near the Arctic Circle (Iceland for 18 months) confirmed my preference.

Well, enjoy the approaching autumn, Charles. The seasonal cycles are profound reminders of something about our own lives, and if I were a philosopher or theologian I would understand that reminder. Instead, I am simply dimly aware of the cycles' significance in the bigger picture. Take care.

cs harris said...

I am so ready for cool. Not cold, mind you; just cool. I hadn't realized things were so dry. We had all that rain back in May, but you're right, very little since.

Snowbrush said...

Here in the Willamette Valley, we normally get almost constant drizzle in winter and spring, little rain in summer, and temps below ninety for all but ten days of the year. Last winter, we had little rain, and this summer, we had NO rain, WEEKS of above 90, and humidity as low as ten per cent. The reservoirs are now so low that the bottom of the boat ramps are ten feet above the water, and you’ve surely heard about our fires (over a million acres were burning in Washington and Oregon last week, which was the last I heard). Sometimes, the smoke from fires 100 miles away makes the air quality so bad here in Eugene that it’s in the “unsafe” category. We had to cancel a trip to Crater Lake last week because of the smoke and the possibility that the place we were planning to say would have to be evacuated. I never knew how bad forest fires could get before I came to Oregon, and I’m not even sure I’ve seen the worst because if we get another winter like last winter, and another summer like this summer, it’s imaginable how bad it might get.

Angie said...

I lived most of my life in the South Bay -- south of San Francisco, say within 20 miles of San Jose. Northern California. And I never remember it going below ten degrees, or even hitting ten degrees. Unless you're talking Celsius...? It goes below freezing like once every 15 years or so, but the high twenties is the worst I recall. It's just kind of hilarious that Louisiana gets colder than sea-level California. [bemused smile]

Re: dressing in winter, I'm kind of like you. It's pretty common for me to be in jeans and a T-shirt while people walking down the same street are wearing jackets and scarves. When we were in Florence a few years back, I was literally the only person I saw in the city wearing shorts, and there were plenty of jackets there, too. It's weird. I get cold pretty easily if I'm sitting inside, but if I'm outside my tolerance is much higher, and triple that if I'm moving around. (Although I'm pretty sure that last is weight related -- work is mass times distance, and it takes a lot of work to move my mass around, which means lots of calories burned and lots of heat generated.) But it's funny what other people consider chilly when I wouldn't put on a sweater, much less a jacket, unless someone held a gun to my head. :P


Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, always interesting to see how different, different areas of the country can be.

R.T., I also believe that I start to write better when autumn comes, although it's not as big of an effect as it used to be when I was young.

Candy, we notice the dry because of how dusty our dirt road gets.

Snowbrush, we tend to not have a lot of problems with fires because we are so wet. We average about 80 inches a year. Fires are so scary.

Angie, I think a lot of it for me is movement too. I tell folks if I were going to be sitting outside I'd probably wear a jacket but if I'm walking the jacket will quickly leave me overheated.

Snowbrush said...

“Snowbrush, we tend to not have a lot of problems with fires because we are so wet.”

Yeah, I spent 36-years living near where you are. Another factor is that you simply don’t have huge, huge, huge, areas of wilderness with few roads and high winds. Last I heard, the biggest fire in the Northwest was 240,000 acres in size. Some of the fires here won’t even be put out, they’ll simply be contained as much as possible until winter puts them out.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We're finally getting a break from the heat this week.
I prefer cold as well. You can always put on more clothes but you can only get so naked.
I visited Florida once during a cold snap (yeah, a whole fifty-five degrees!) and all the natives were bundled from head to toe. I was amused.

Oscar Case said...

It'll be a while in Phoenix before we get a cool down for "winter", but life goes on.

sage said...

Last August seemed hotter, but this one is obviously more humid--and we have rain every day in the ten day forecast and Noah's record is about to fall

BernardL said...

It's always a worry when droughts cycle in. The San Francisco Bay Area, including my East Bay, has the most balmy temperatures I've ever experienced. The lack of rain is always a problem though. Droughts out here usually trigger cycles of earthquakes.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I miss snow and extreme cold winters. Of course, I can't be missing either since I have never experienced them in the tropics, though parts of North India do go through biting winters.

Charles Gramlich said...

Snowbrush, that is true.

Alex, it's like that here for folks when it gets in the fifties.

Oscar, we're still gonna have some hot days but hopefully the corner has been turned.

Sage, I'm used to it raining nearly every day in summer here. But not this year.

Berndard, the fire conditions are always a big danger as well.

Prashant, I do sometimes miss snow, which I've seen a fair amount of in Arkansas. Although I sure hate driving in snowy conditions.

Cloudia said...

We geniuses run warm! Interesting post

( '>
Trip was great, but being without internet made me miss you and all my friends!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, indeed.

G. B. Miller said...

It usually has to hit about 20 degrees for me to take notice of the cold. I wear short sleeves year round and have been known to wear a hoodie deep into the winter season (roughly to mid-January or so).

The heat doesn't bother me much unless the humidity is seriously high.

Father Nature's Corner

Charles Gramlich said...

humidity is what bothers me as well. When you instantly break into a sweat and everything sticks to you. That's about it.

jodi said...

Charles-take it from a Michigander-you do not want months of frigit temps. Fall here is crisp and mostly sunny and I think it's the perfect weather with temps between 60 and 70 degrees. Perfect!

Riot Kitty said...

You like cold and you live in Louisiana...I feel for you!