It occurred to me recently that here in this part of the world, it is more likely to have cabin fever in the summer time. The summer’s deadly heat and humidity drives everyone in to the air-conditioned spaces the same way deadly cold and snow drives those in northern climes inside during winter. If one is fortunate, there is a source for water play outdoors. A lake, creek, water park or in our case a little blow-up pool in the back yard makes it possible to actually enjoy being outside mid-day. I always get the little pool ready when the duchesses are coming to see me.
I terribly miss the warm lake waters we swam in growing up. The place we once spent all summer is now off limits to those without camp houses on the road to it. The other locations we swam at are overgrown and full of alligators these days. We got rid of the boat sitting collecting dust. We used to take it to a sandbar on the river. The cold current of the river waters don’t compare to laying on a float drifting in a lake cove any way.
Maybe that is what I need to work on. Checking to see if the one possible swimming place is still viable on the lake. I might not want to take the duchesses there just yet. I have seen too many alligators out in the open lake this summer to allow me any consideration of that. A couple of adults should be okay. Right?
I have a friend who will surely be up for the adventure. I doubt he will have time or inclination to try it. The friend I have in mind shares the same memories of that lake and that place. She and I have spent many a summer day roasting in the sun and cooling off in the waters of the muddy lake.
Our lake is shallow and sandy bottomed. The water is light brown and opaque. Warm and soothing. I still remember finding “cold spots” when we would get out chest deep or so. A current of deeper water would swirl up and there would be a fleeting pocket of cooler water. We would get excited and try to stay in it while it lasted.
No doubt my memories are gilded in the haze of distant memory and cloaked in remembrance of innocent youthful ideals. I might be disappointed if I face the water again now. That is true. I may not like it now. That will certainly not take away the glorious memories that play through my mind from days of old. We were young and full of ourselves. Anxious to escape this sand hill. I never did really leave except a few years away at the beginning of adulthood. And now with the halfway mark of my life well past, I am unlikely to ever leave again.
I am accustomed to weathering the summer heat and the winter rain right here on this sand hill. I can tell if a storm might actually make it to here from which way it is coming. The high bluff of the river valley has a definite power over the storms. I know which windows to avoid the summer sun and which ones to seek for the winter sun. I know where to go to see the diamonds glittering on the ripples of the lake or to see the herons stalking fish. I know how to overcome the summer doldrums and manage the barrage of mosquitos.
What I don’t know is how I got so blessed? When I was 16, had I been able to look forward to this very summer 50 years later, and seen myself living here in this very house on this very sand hill, I would have gone mad with distress. Now I can’t see myself any where else. Even were our parents still living, we would have been on this hill a half mile away as the crow flies. Tied to place through love and memory. A shallow lake. Tall pines. White sand roads. Bicycles. Kids being kids.
I am blessed that he loves me enough to put up with being here. I know it isn’t his ideal. And certainly, if his perfect situation arose, I would go with him. My home is here, though. No matter where my future days take us, this will ever be home.
Here it is again. The dog days of summer. August has started out not so treacherous. Lower 90’s instead of near 100.
I so want to have enough energy to do more in the evenings after the 9-5. It just doesn’t happen. By the time I get to the house, I just want to sit and stare out the window or scroll through Instagram. I am scheduled to retire next summer. Everyone asks me what will I do with myself retired. I can’t seem to make them understand how important taking care of him and keeping house is to me.
I might write more. I might read more. I might be able to get my house the way I want it. I have some painting to do and some floors to recover and windows to redress. I might even be able to get every closet, pantry and drawer cleaned out and organized. I have some special projects still sitting in the wings. I also have a major ambition to pursue.
With my pain level like it is, the fatigue overtakes me and then I cycle into a downward spiral. My 9-5 job is very high stress and not rewarding emotionally or mentally. Just an endless round of reports and meaningless data collection for the politicians. It drains me. I hate feeling like this. The upside is that it leads to an early retirement and lifelong health insurance for both of us.
I want to be able to do things with him and for him to make his life better and happier. I try to research what to do, but then can’t focus long enough over the days to make the changes called for.
I am not alone in my frustrated state. Many of my friends have the same or similar issues. Not necessarily the pain, but the fatigue and the seeming inability to make things better despite having some vague ideas of what would help.
It is not that we have such desperately terrible lives. I count myself among the blessed in this world. I live in Texas. I have a solid house with hot and cold running water, two indoor toilets, a bathtub and shower. I have a well equipped kitchen and pantry and freezer full of food. I have central air that I can afford to run. I have good health in the sense that I don’t have to take any medications for anything right now. And insurance if I did. My vehicle is new and I always have gas money. My children are grown and independent and well. Both happily married and raising healthy children. I don’t have aging parents to take care of, though I wish I did. They have all been gone for many years.
I guess my point is that everything should be fine. But, somehow I have this nagging sense of unease. And the physical pain and fatigue that no doctor seems to be able to figure out what is caused by nor how to fix it. I have made yet another appointment with yet another doctor for later this month. He has a reputation for non-traditional evaluations and treatments. Maybe he won’t try to give me anti-depressants. I’m not depressed. I just don’t feel well enough long enough to get more than the minimal tasks completed. And that frustrates the daylights out of me.
Enough of this pity party. I am blessed. I love and am loved. I will do what I can and be glad for it as much as I can. I will try to forgive myself for all I can’t seem to get done and for the anxiety that builds up and causes me distress.
The cicadas just started buzzing close to this porch window. He will be home soon. The evening shadows will blend into dusk. The night will bring restless sleep, yet the coming dawn will break on a fresh, new day. Please, Lord, help me rejoice and be glad in it.