I sleep fitfully. No position seems right: lie on my right side too long and a knee aches; lie on the left side and an arm falls asleep; lie on my back and a calf cramps up. So I flit in and out of consciousness, tossing, turning, time dragging, yet exhausted. I cannot measure the passage of time, as I'd removed my watch last night because of the heat and left it downstairs, and due to myopia and glare from a window, I cannot read the digital alarm clock. Finally at 9:35, I ascertain the time, and pleasantly surprised it is not later, rise with determination. Can I beat the heat? I go out back and greet our coyote bait, sweet and desperate for attention, morning it is. On the porch, it is cool, the sky overcast, threatening rain. I decide on Stormwater Park, and don a t-shirt and highwaters. Or clamdiggers. Or whatever you call those foolish women’s pants that fall between the knee and ankle. Fearful of rain, I leave the camera behind and set out.
Five minutes into my walk, as I head eastbound along Busy Road that Leads to Highway (BRtLtH), the histamine kicks in. My legs itch, they burn, they flame. I hitch up the pants, folding them over once at the waistband to reduce the loose fabric. Oh, the rub, how it burns. My flesh is 10,000 degrees. I remove my keys from my front pocket and clutch them in my hand, one less thing to rub against my legs. I won't give up. I won't give up. I won't give up. Sometimes I think it is extra weight that causes this histamine reaction: the jiggling, how it burns. But it is not a complete explanation, as even my shins, that thin layer of skin above bone, even my shins burn. And I was stricken thusly even as a young teen, all skin and bones. I won't give up. I move through the red fog and am free.
I approach the park from the southwest end, and pick up the footpath, proceeding in a clockwise fashion. The path itself has such romantic charm in its dimensions, rarely wider than six inches across, bare soil through turf. It pleases me. The park is surprisingly quiet, almost deserted even. Ducks bob in the water and sun along the banks. A few parents push their toddlers on the swings across the field. I pass a man walking his old black lab, and later a woman with her young pitbull. He carries a paper cup of coffee; she a water bottle. By the time I meet the woman with her water, I am almost done with the park loop. The sun has burned off the clouds and with all the torrents that fell yesterday the earth is supersaturated. The humidity ratchets. The hot bugs scream. I feel envious of her water, and a little deceived by the shifting weather. I am distinctly overheated, overdressed now, sweating profusely, but am on the home stretch of the loop anyway.
Along BRtLtH there is a delightful breeze. I watch a man continuing his work, painting the yellow lines in a the newly paved lot. It is a slow project. He is in the same section as when I'd passed 40 minutes earlier. I fantasize about chugging water when I get home, about tearing off my clothes and sitting in front of the fan. I cut through the little wannabe gated condo community, past the sign that says, "residents and guests only." None of their fountains are running; no one sits on the patios. No sign of life at all. I am still sweating profusely, still fantasizing about the water and the stripping and the shower. Home, sweet home. I close the door behind me, and after indulging in the water and the stripping and the fan, prepare the morning tea ritual, Earl Grey, my comfort, my familiar.
Monday, July 24, 2006
I just came inside after weeding for about an hour, and called my car loan to change the address after they ignored three separate mailed address changes, and put away a load of clean laundry while on hold. Then I came in here to pay some bills, but of course got distracted. I've been feeling a little itchy since the weeding, even though I wore the nice gloves Sis gave me, but thought nothing much of it, as a little itchy is one of my strong suits. And yet, what should I find nestled in my sports bra, virtually sealed to the underside of my left breast by the sheer force of sweat, but an entire seed pod from a recalcitrant garlic mustard.