The scorching heat of the past weekend and of the week before has left the neighborhood very, very hot. In fact, as all of us are completely aware, this has been a long hot summer – perhaps the hottest in recent memory.
In other parts of the nation, states are experiencing drought conditions this summer with no real end in sight. Seasonal crops have been decimated. Corn especially has been wiped out by the hundreds of thousands of acres worth. In Arizona there are dust storms reminiscent of the Dust Bowl occurrences of the 1930’s. In other parts of the country and even here, violent storms such as we have rarely experienced cause havoc when they occur – such as a storm about two weeks ago that featured a tornado touching down in Lynn, of all places.
Living in the city during such a long hot summer generally causes tensions to rise among people living together closely in crowded housing circumstances.
In the North End, the heat appears, so far, to have had a calming effect rather than one akin to boiling.
Police reports crime is down. Violent crime is down.
It is, it appears, simply too hot to bother with virtually anything.
The thought of walking around on monstrously heated sidewalks or crossing literally burning streets is not what we were meant to do.
Air conditioning is what this summer is all about.
Even the heroic who tend not to think about the heat or to be bothered by it, have resorted to seeking shade and to privately enjoying air conditioning as long as no one is looking.
Attempting sleep without air conditioning in the North End or in any of the city’s neighborhoods, is a nearly impossible effort – and a fan doesn’t really do it when it’s this hot.
For some residents who cannot handle the heat, it is so stifling that they are sent into the throes of heat induced panic, states of inertia or wild movement as if two say, “I am burning up. I am sweating profusely. When is this going to end?”
There appears to be no end in sight to the oppressive heat during this, the Summer of 2012.
But this, too, will change.
Those who are very, very hot will become much cooler, chilled almost, when the first breeze of what is to come caresses out faces and tickles our minds.
Then those who were very hot will begin thinking about the cooler weather and the bitter cold that accompanies winter.
Yes, those who complain most about the heat quite often morph from that to complaining most about the bitter cold.
For them, there is only heat and cold and not much of an in between.
For those of us who love the heat and who love the cold, there is also the welcome of everything in between.
Soon enough, we think. Soon enough the summer will be done and some of us will lament its passing – heat and all.