“Do crows make more noise when it’s hot?” I Googled. No clear answer.
We’re having a heat wave in Northern California, which, given our usual deeply temperate climate, feels a little apocalyptic. If the Apocalypse comes in small doses that is. The crows are cawing late night and early morning. Jays are screaming, and fighting with seagulls in from the bay.
My house was built in 1953 and I do not have air conditioning. New houses in the Bay Area may, but we faithful few, we soldier on. Come the annual heat wave – because it happens almost every year and each time we say to each other, “Oh, it’s so HOT!”- we long-time Northern Californians open our windows at night and close up tight around 9:30am. We wait it out, feeling like we really live here.
The day before yesterday Yahoo weather got stuck at 102°. Long after Weather.com and Wunderground were calling the temperatures down like an election, 93, 86, 82, our phones just glared at us, 102. Hotter than decades past.
Yesterday wasn’t much better. I drank cold water with a lot of ice and a little lemonade. By 3pm the heat had reached its peak. We opened the doors in surrender, and hot air blew through the house. I lay on the sofa with my legs resting up the back, fighting off foot swelling. What a heat sissy, acknowledged.
And, even though at one point the heat weighed on my chest so heavily it was almost hard to breathe, I felt a sort of gritty joy. Reveling in my body dealing with extremity, perhaps.
When I woke at 1:30am the temperatures had fallen to the 70s, as our marine layer cooled us off for sleep. Now as I write, the back door open to a morning in the 60′s, I see today they predict a maximum of 88. I can recollect 102 fondly, “Remember that summer when Yahoo Weather got stuck?”
This may be the purest definition of privilege. In an abundance of 75° days we can enjoy one nigh-on painful sweating. In comfort we can enjoy hardship – it feels like life force, not distress.
But if I back away from my own senses and good cheer, I remember we’re in a drought. Delaine tells me it’s spreading across the country. This is the flipside risk of privilege, we find the crows to be an annoyance rather than intelligence from the front lines. I don’t want to feel danger, who would unless they had to? Maybe we have to.
It should go without saying that the responsibility of privilege is empathy, and on a broader scale some kind of global consciousness, but I still need reminding.
Have a wonderful weekend. I believe it’s possible, even when we acknowledge the hard stuff.