I braved the midday heat to snip some lettuce for tonight's dinner. It is dead still. No wind, no farm equipment, no one on the county road-even the birds, and cattle are silent.
I've lived here eleven years without ever experiencing something like this. Even at night, late when there shouldn't be any noise, there's the sound of well motors, or the occasional far-off car. This feels terribly Twilight Zone, and I don't like it. A working farm shouldn't be this quiet midsummer-even if there's nothing left to farm, drought having stunted everything. I drove past a cornfield yesterday where the stalks had grown to about four feet, tasseled, and had stunted little ears-no bigger than a child's hand. Last year it was underwater.
I put out some bread and water for the farm cats. Oh, I know I shouldn't feed them, but I can't bear to watch them drag their skinny bodies along, too tired to go after birds. Some bluejays came after the cat left, making off with a few scraps. They needn't fear the cat, he couldn't jump if his life depended on it.
104 tomorrow, then 102, 103, 104, etc. No end in sight. The air is just dirt, and fumes, and dirt. And dirt. At least the wind is calm, that's something. We live in fear of lightning strikes, or cigarettes tossed from car windows. We do laundry at midnight to conserve energy at peak use hours. I hang it to dry on a wooden rack in the kitchen, fold when I get up in the morning. We conduct our lives in the dark, peeking out the windows like fugitives, quickly drawing the curtains against any room-warming rays. I'm convinced this is the "new normal." Driving home yesterday, I was tempted to pull into the nearest car dealership, and purchase the first model I saw on the lot that had air conditioning. I've lived without it in the car all these years arguing that summer is such a short season, it is hardly worth the cost. Mr. ETB pleads with me daily to do so-but I'm stubborn about cars, particularly when mine is paid for, and runs. There isn't anywhere worth going in this heat anyway, air conditioned ride, or not.