Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cool Mornings

This morning it was downright chilly as I rode in. An excellent example of Mother Nature playing with me. Had I not already seen a weather report I would have assumed that the heat wave was broken and that I should wear a pair of jeans into the office. But no! Today is predicted to be in the nineties again and certainly shorts weather.

Were I not to have seen a weathercast (or had my PDA) to tell me that it was going to be another day in the broiler, the ride in would have told me. Although it is a chill morning and the walking shorts I have on are a little on the light side of comfortable at the moment, the steam rising from the village in an eerie ground-hugging fog tells me that today is definitely going to be another of those hot and muggy days.

Have you ever had one of those strange experiences where you are looking at one thing in one time and place and your mind is registering another time and place superimposed over the top of it? There are time travel novels I have read that claim this experience is one of the ways to travel through time. You simply forget that you are in the place that you are actually looking at and the other time and place comes more sharply into focus and there you are; traveling through time and space by sheer will power!

The trip my mind took me on this morning was to the lowlands of southern Alabama. A few years back, I took a road trip from Memphis (where I was living at the time) to visit my friends in Tampa. I left at that particular time I like to call "Butt-Ugly-Early O'Clock" and drove through the night. It was a damp and sultry night as they all seem to be for about nine months of the year in the deep south. The morning broke just as I was passing through Dothan, Alabama. Driving through the horse pasture land, the fog was rising from the lower parts of the fields.

It was a cool and pleasant morning! The green grasslands, cloaked loosely in wisps of translucent fog; huge expanses of lawn punctuated occasionally with Live Oak, their branches spreading to impossible radii from their trunks. I pulled over that morning to drink it all in. The convertible top was down to let in the morning breezes. But I soon got moving again. This was a portent for having a hot and humid day.

The one thing that part of the world had that I do miss are what I have come to think of as "Florida Houses." In some of the more rural areas, you'll come across these wonderful old houses. The houses huddle under their ancient tin roofs; surrounded by wide verandas, they have almost as much covered space outside as they do in. One can sit on the veranda on whichever side of the house is providing shade to the porch and take in whatever breezes are blowing. They also sit up on stilts perhaps hip-high off the ground so as to provide air passage under the house. This also helps keep the house cool; and in Florida, it is cooling rather than heating one worries over the most.

In much the same way, today will be hot and sticky and this fog will burn off. We'll be more worried about staying cool than we will be about how chilly the morning was. Oh well, at least I don't have to ride the tube. I was in London this weekend and it is truly miserable when it gets warm down there.

I hope wherever you are today you have a pleasant, cool, day!

Don Bergquist - 25 July 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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