Wednesday, July 4, 2007


5:30 a.m. is early to get up on a holiday, but I like to make the most of a day off. Fed and watered birds, watered the plants. I noticed that there was none of that nice cool icy early-morning edge in the air, courtesy of the rocks and cliffs and the trees now at their leafiest. The wind was coming from the east, from the city, and I felt the sting of ozone in my nose. That's how I knew it was going to be a humid day.

This area is famous for summer humidity, although it usually lasts six weeks at the most, July through part of August. It is now 9:00 a.m. It's damp and humid even in the shade.

To beat the humidity: No one can beat it. You sweat and soak your clothes, but that is okay; you are not alone. Men in the city may wear khakis to the office; women wear bare legs, capris, sleeveless tops, and sandals. It is okay. People become ingenious. A clever friend installed a ceiling fan on her porch so she can enjoy summer breezes on the porch when there aren't any natural ones. People serve iced tea or iced coffee or lemonade, and sit still if they can. Outdoor workers change their schedules; 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. becomes 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. When someone visits, we immediately sit them down and give them a cold drink and sometimes, if we can, even give them a dry t-shirt to replace the one they've soaked.

When it's humid outside, you are never alone. Humidity brings us together. Everyone talks about it. Strangers will talk to you about it while they mop their brows. And you listen. When it's humid, everyone seems to care a little more. And they also like:

The Secret Lemonade Recipe (makes one quart)
-half a cup of white sugar
-half a cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Stir these two things up a little. Add
-cold water to equal one quart, stir until absolutely clear.

Serve and relax!

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