Everyone in prone positions, some bodies perpendicular to others, some just out there on their own, spanning that one corner of living room rug, some sprawling underneath the chaise longue I try to endure as my son makes mud pies, the sprinkler raining on him. If our animals don’t like each other, it’s too hot too matter. Heat, the great equalizer. We only have 3 cats and 1 dog, but all the sprawling makes us feels as if we have a zoo. The dog raises his head briefly from the Pergo, touches noses with a cat passing on its way to the food bowl, where the cat will lie down to eat. The A/C is on, but no animals seem to notice. Crazy cats who hate each other suddenly love each other and love the dog. This is what happens in 107 degrees.
Last summer’s heat was disturbing, but I’m thinking this summer is going to be even toastier. Nervous, I sign petitions created to ban fracking, pebble mines and pipelines, wild mustang slaughter, GMO’s, the killing of animal babies and one petition to end the reign of Dora The Explorer (I wish). My son and I play the Ladybug Game, and again, and again, this time using Skylander figures instead of the cardboard ladybug pieces provided. We play Candyland using toy dinosaurs of varying sizes. We drink homemade, organic green smoothies disguised as purple smoothies thanks to organic blueberries. We watch The Incredibles with lunch and he continues to watch as I nap. We avoid the swingset or walking the dog. So important to do all of these things when it’s 107 outside. Especially the disguised green smoothies part. So. Very. Vital.
The unicycle leans against a distant corner of the sizzling patio. Dreadfully unridden.
On the hottest day of the year so far, we drive to the beach at 5pm. People coat the sand like flies. No one is leaving. We step out of the minivan and into a breeze that feels like a blessing and immediately become immune to the crowds. We squeeze into a spot and set up camp, watching a man with a seagull on his head stroll the surfline. Our son joins a group of kids digging holes in the sand. He shrieks along with them when the surging tide fills up the holes and destroys them. We sit in beach chairs, hold hands, breathe for the first time all day. Bit by bit people tear themselves away from the ocean and return inland. We pull our dinner from the beachbag and soon it’s just us by the lifeguard stand, eating salads and grilled cheese sandwiches, watching the ocean turn silver in the setting sun.
When we return home, it’s dark. The cats complain from couches and coffee tables they’ve commandeered and from encampments by the dog’s water bowl. They ambush us from above, busting out of the linen closet with terrifying meows. We find them in the bathroom sink. They shock us by shooting out from under beds. The dog hauls himself off the Pergo—from the same spot we left him in—and wags his tail.
Farewell, June. May your Big Sister Month, July, grace us with an unseasonable cool. May our cats go back to hating each other and the dog request his ball again. May we make mudpies at any hour of the summer day, instead of right before bedtime, when it’s cooler, but still 89 degrees.
A cooling trend. With beaches. Honored petitions. And animal calm.
Yours in arctic dreams and cats, cats, cats,