Just who do you think you are?
If you have the energy to focus only on one season, why does this have to be the one you’ve chosen?
Where do you get off having temperatures this high, humidity this viscous, and bugs this big all in one place? Is one struggle at a time not adequate?
Texas makes me feel like I have multiple personality disorder because God, I love living outside, and in the same breath, God, I hate living outside.
I never much enjoyed being outdoors.
I always preferred a good television show or a great book, and a fully functioning air conditioner. We weren’t well-to-do, so I didn’t always have that because 1970s single wides didn’t have exceptional HVAC systems, but it was my preference.
Life without air conditioning was somewhat tolerable as a kid. We found ways to beat the heat.
Sprinklers under the trampoline and spray bottles with oscillating fans were common. Untreated third-degree burns from rushing the water hose were also pretty regular. You know you had to let that thing run for a full minute before you touched it, or else you ended up with a faceful of magma water.
The ankle-deep pothole directly next to Highway 84 was another summertime standby. We thought we had an inground pool because that filthy, dangerous pit was big enough for all of us to fit in, and it soaked us all the way up to our butt cracks.
Idiot children that we were.
If Grandma yelled at us about wasting the water, then shade did the trick. The grass under the oak in Grandma’s front yard was always cool. San Augustine grass between bare, filthy toes had a way of cooling you clean down to your soul.
We could play hours-long games of Red Light, Green Light and never break a sweat under that tree. I’m sure we smelled like we’d broken a sweat, or two, a whole pack of wet trampoline-smelling brats making up silly games in Grandma’s front yard.
I remember summer heat, but I don’t remember this.
Even with my life-long love of conditioned air, I can’t remember feeling this miserable when summer temperatures skyrocketed.
In the middle of our pine forest, even shade doesn’t help. It’s just more hot air in a slightly dimmer spot.
A prayed-for summer shower only serves to make the air swimmable, oxygen jelly. With nary a blade of that beloved San Augustine, my red dirt floors turn to paint, which my little, fuzzy monsters use to tag every surface with their adorable little toe prints. Tiny, little graffiti artists.
The ice-cold, crystal-clear creek offers hours of relief from the stagnant heat if you can make the trip without dying of a heart attack. The trip down the 15-foot embankment is a tragedy waiting to happen but once your feet hit that water the whole hot world washes away. Sweat glands seize up and pores crash closed as the frigid waters trickle over red-dirt-stained toes. Oh, blessed relief.
Under that living canopy, between those steeply sloped banks, it’s an entirely different world. Tiny fish swim upstream. Dragonflies race to invisible finish lines only to turn and dart back in a million different directions. The croaked conversation of a million frogs mixes with the creak of decades-old vines clinging to hefty trunks swaying in a breeze that only exists in this chilly bottom.
Fairy stories are created in spots like this.
And then you hear it. The tranquility is broken by the din of a million little wings attached to blood-seeking missiles and you remember that you’re still in dear old Texas.
Amber Lollar is the managing editor for The Henderson News. Her e-mail address is <email@example.com>© 2021, Henderson Newspapers Inc.