There’s a bead of sweat sneaking down the small of my back, breaking loose from its birthplace between my shoulder blades. The others are threatening to give chase at any moment, which means that I am mere minutes away from my dewy glow turning into a hot, wet mess.
But I am stuck here for another 15. By then my beady little friends will have long since made their escape, leaving a moist trail down the back of my shirt. And sitting 10 steps away from an Olympic-sized pool is not doing anything to cool my slow boil.
July’s onset means that temperatures and tempers reach a fevered pitch. Hot enough to tempt the devil – contrary to public opinion he has not gone down to Georgia; he spends his summers right here – the desert sears at the touch. Refreshing pools become warm baths and the eyes of electricians everywhere gleam as air conditioners are pushed beyond their limits. Too hot to go outside and too bored to stay in, children and teenagers stop celebrating summer vacation and join their parents in a silent countdown until school is back in session.
And then come the storms.
The lazy, heavy heat gives way to blue-gray clouds that roll across the sky like wild stallions on a dusty plain. Thunder’s deep bass booms and white flashes pierce the dark sky. Trees whip their branches in a frenzied ritual until the clouds relent and release their assault. In the aftermath the desert comes to life, vibrant pink, yellow and purple splashed against rich hues of green, red and brown.
A second bead races down my back disappearing into my waistline and I realize that, for the first time, I don’t want the storms to wash away the summer heat because each day draws us closer to the end of this reprieve we have enjoyed. It gave us the chance to step back and slow down. To take stock of where we had come from, what we had been through and where we are headed. Spring melted into summer and with each day we grew healthier, happier.
We had focused on surviving the storm – until the clouds lifted and we were ready to focus on the business of living again.