Thursday, June 25, 2015

Paradise

The longest day of the year is past, and in the wet afternoons, I smell the coming Fall. My house, it seems, spends the entire Summer preparing for the darkening year and spends the beginning of the year catching its breath. Of course, right now, it is the heat that has stilled us, the cats on the tiled floor and humans surrounded by fans, all of us waiting for the worst of the heat to pass.

This stillness descends every year and yet I never remember it as part of the break between quarters that I so look forward to. Invariably, I wonder where the break has flown, I wonder what kept me from accomplishing the list the end of Spring readies, the list that I review and memorize for weeks in preparation for the break. I do not remember that I spent the break supine on the sofa, defeated by the still, hot air. The very thought of movement, even to get coffee is too much to bear. I spend days without coffee (too hot!), a little vague, a little lost, subconsciously nursing a persistent headache. I wander around the house, waiting for the day to get bearable. This heat is problematic since I hate air conditioning and cannot stand it for very long.

Already, I see that a few precious days have already gone by and I cannot bring myself to revising my rubric, re-constructing my assignments, re-structuring my courses. The sun shining on the gently swaying leaves is so fascinating. The cats seem to understand, since all of them are staring at the same swaying branches that have me so mesmerized.

Perhaps the afternoon (10am-6pm) will have passed when I blink next.

We finish grocery shopping before 10am and do not venture out until after 6. The sun doesn't set until late 8pm, and our entire day has been pushed back, with a giant donut hole of an afternoon squatting in its center.

When the rains wet the earth and I remember Fall, it is not with anticipation of relief from the season; October heat is the worst here. It seems that nothing will stir until the holidays begin, until the Goddess descends and Navratri lights up the nights.

One might very well wonder why I stay here. The days are lethargic and insomnia stretches out the humid nights. Yet I am always extolling the virtues of living in what I call paradise to any who would listen.

Paradise indeed it is, the unbearable afternoons notwithstanding. The dawn and dusk skies are a sight to behold, drama in colors splashed around, covering everything with improbable hues and shadows. It is not unusual to imagine brilliant, clear waters and clean, cerulean skies when imagining paradise. This canvas is a few minutes' drive from my sofa. Of course, I would not recommend seeking out the beach front between 10am and 6pm. But I keep that image in my mind's eye while I stare at the sunlight skipping on the leaves.

There are farmers' markets, nurseries, tropical trails, gardens, and parks with plenty of hospitable shade to while the day, watching butterflies and herbs going about their routines. Sometimes, we go to the movies, the mall, ice cream parlors (I do not partake, of course), and then I keep a shawl because the air conditioning is always cranked up to its coolest in all public indoor places.

Compared to the debilitating cold that regularly grips Northern places, I find this still air much easier to tolerate. For someone who has lived all her immigrant life in Florida, I have shoveled too much snow. If I do not shovel another ounce, it'll  be enough. I hear of horror stories about burst water pipes, failing heaters, cold so biting that one feels it in one's organs and deeper still. And there is no relief from this cold either; no brilliant sunsets to compensate for the day's discomfort, no shining sunlight on dancing leaves, no fragrance of fresh earth with the rainfall.

The terrain here is simple and straight; if one can read a graph, one never needs be lost. The terrain in other places, I know, is complex. It rises and dips, uncaring of its effect on slipping tires and shoes. It demands an ability to balance so that one is constantly looking for that center of being. Often, for months, these rises and dips are hidden beneath inches of snow. Here, the earth centers the being and unless there is something wrong with the internal workings of the organism, no balancing is needed.

I know that the prognosis of this land being the way it is, is not good. I know that this land is being swallowed up and soon, there will be no land. But as long as this land stands, I will choose it; perhaps the oceans will be patient enough to wait for me to be done before they swallow my paradise.

 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful writing, as always--I particularly love the last sentence!

    ReplyDelete

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