11 August 2010

one hot tamale

It is 103 degrees fahrenheit, 46% relative humidity, and the heat index is 122. Aye aye aye aye aye aye aye. This happens every August on the Gulf Coast. The first year I lived here I spent the entire summer as air conditioned as I could possibly be. There were August weekends when I would stay inside my apartment from Friday evening until Monday morning and not even consider going outside. I don't suppose I will ever get used to it, but I have come to some understanding of summer weather adaptation.

An advantage to working from home is that I do not get blasted with air conditioning 40 hours a week from the office 75 degree climate control. This is not a panacea. Yesterday I went someplace in the middle of the day. The worst part was that my car was parked unshaded for two hours and when I got in it to come home there was a cooking interval of around ten minutes before the air in the car was cool, and during the first minute it must have been 125 degrees in there. Just those ten minutes of overheating had me so tired when I got home that I took a forty minute nap even though I had eight hours of sleep the night before. If I stay inside during the hot part of the day, my adaptations protect me from nearly any effects.

My thermostat is usually at 82, so it is warm, but it is not at all uncomfortable. I open the windows at sunrise and leave the air conditioning off until I feel the need for it. This was usually around 10:00 a. m. for the last week, although this morning I did not turn on the air conditioning until 11:00. So unlike last summer, when the apartment was closed up from around June 1 until around October 1, this summer I have flooded the apartment with fresh air every morning. Also I have been taking sunrise walks in Bear Creek Park and on the Addicks Reservoir dam which get me out into nature, in touch with our roots. Sometimes I see raccoon, skunk, possum, hawk, or fox. I usually see deer and toads and egrets and butterflies and vultures. I always hear frogs and crickets and crows. I have not yet seen a rattlesnake, but I know they are out there. This is the first time I have been active outdoors through the whole summer in years.

A website concerned with the hazards of civilization is the Anthropik network. They are a thoughtful group and their viewpoint is quite interesting, even though I do not agree with it. They are pessimistic regarding our culture's destiny--peak oil and environmental ruin and more. I am not pessimistic at, but I do agree with them that time spent attending to the natural world is vital to our being. I like this summer a whole lot more than I liked the last four. In my living room with the windows open and the crickets chirping away on a warm summer morning it is almost like a paradise.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.