Sunday, July 29, 2012


It needs to rain. The sky needs to open up and let fall big drops of wet rain. All day long. Or at least for a few hours. I don't remember the last time it rained here. Occasionally a storm will blow through, big clouds that come in fast from the Owyhees to the south, but the precipitation barely hits the ground, and then it's gone as fast as it came. I miss the summer thunderstorms of the Midwest and East Coast. There, the humidity builds oppressively until KABOOM! the sky can no longer hold all that moisture and hot drops pound the ground and collect in puddles everywhere. One summer during college in Missouri, it felt like it rained every single Friday, from morning until mid-afternoon. Then the clouds would slowly thin and the sun would peek out, and then the air would get sticky hot again but the land would feel clean.

It doesn't rain like that here in the deserts of the Intermountain region or the Great Basin, except for maybe occasionally in the fall or winter. But now, in the heat of summer, it is just sun sun sun and dry heat. Clouds tease but never release their contents. It's amazing that anything is still green in these parts, a feat attributable to the snowmelt trickling down from the mountains and the irrigation systems that feed this parched land. Sunny is wonderful, but it is tiring. There's no good excuse for not playing outside (too hot? just go to the mountains or the river) and the almost-10 pm sunset forces you to stay up too late to fill the long day with as much as possible before winter renews its grip. This is the time of year when I look forward to autumn, with its days of reasonable length, comfortable weather, occasionally cool and rainy moments, and a chance to catch my breath. Right now, I'm dreaming of chilly, foggy days along the Oregon coast, damp sweater weather and cappuccinos, curling up in a big chair with a book and a blanket. A break from the unrelenting heat and sun. But there's just a month left of real summer, and suddenly it feels like I haven't done nearly enough, and there's so much left to do. Come September, summer will have felt way too short, the little time spent lounging in front of the television or in bed will have seemed a waste. Rainy days absolve that guilt, which is why we need a couple out here in this dry land. But with none in sight, all we can do is push on. 

Sunday, July 08, 2012


May and June were the months of boundless stamina. The sun stayed out longer, the air was finally warm. The energy of emerging spring brought countless opportunities for exertion: long hikes, long runs, strength training and yoga, day after day of activity. A yearning to avoid being alone, coupled with the satisfaction of nature at my fingertips, kept me going everyday. Occasionally, internal doubts would examine my ability to press on and find it sufficient. Don't stop now - as long as I have the energy, let's keep going. I survived on fish and bread, turkey sandwiches and unappetizing salads, chicken sausage with pasta, all with a strange distaste for most vegetables.

Now, it's July. Those lazy days of summer. The promised 100+ degree temps have arrived, and with them, my ability to press on is waning. I have that heavy feeling in my sternum that drags me back into bed or flattens me on the couch. Play time is over, temporarily. The trails can wait. Watching movies in the cool AC sounds about right. Low-intensity workouts at the gym. Cooking real food, vegetables included. Rolling on the carpet with the cat at dusk. Taking time to notice the little things, to process what I've seen, to start something new and special. Nesting. 

With the arrival of spring, I sprinted out of the gate, daring life to bring it on. At 32 years old, I'm in the best shape ever. It was just May, and suddenly now it's the second week in July, and every weekend from now until Labor Day has a plan. Summers are too short; to keep up that frenetic pace would mean a season come and gone in a blink and winter arriving too soon after it just ended. The sun has arrived at the northernmost point in the sky for the year, and as it starts to head south again, I'm ready to let go of the reins a bit. Ready to be a little lazier, to embrace some quiet times, to look back inward again. To enjoy the romance of the season in all its sweaty, short-shorts, lounging-by-the-water glory.