Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hotter than the hinges of Hades

The wrath of Helios. The merciless, withering arrows of Phoebus Apollo. The sun in all it's drought inducing power, which is currently beating down on Iowa City with no intention of stopping till the weekend. Maybe. The corn and the soybeans wilt, the animals hide, and the people of the city scuttle from point A to point B with as little delineation as possible, knowing full well that, as in The Waste Land, 'the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief', and even Thomas Stearn's red rock is no help, for shadows are only marginally cooler than the blaze outside it.

So I retreat into the dark of the museum. Hidden in the basement or the archives, I rest easy for a time, even as the heat stalks abroad. But i cannot dodge it forever. Yesterday, while dressed in my best (as it was my first day of work,) I damn near fainted, managing to run into a cool shop and get my breath back just in time to prevent myself collapsing face first onto the baking concrete. The air sometimes seems too hot to even breath it, scalding a person inside and out.

For the moment, however, I'm holed up in Prairie Lights, sipping a can of La Croix that I alternately gulp from or hold its frigid, perspiration beaded container against my head. I will have to reenter the veritable auto-da-fe of the outdoors at some point, but here surrounded by books, cold drinks, and air conditioning, I can remain in denial a little longer.

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