The temperature has been hovering between 105 and 107 for a couple of weeks. Well, the high temperature. Most afternoons, when I go outside to exercise, it’s exactly 104 degrees. I can read the difference in my body when it’s slightly higher or lower: lower, and the sprints I do on the exercise bike are more fun, easier to ignore while listening to music or a podcast. Higher, and I will be drawn and exhausted for the rest of the night. Not sleepy-tired, but cement-limbs tired, draped over the couch, wishing for a milkshake.

It has also been incredibly dry. Blue, empty skies, with scattered clouds in the evenings. Yesterday made for a slight change: although we didn’t get any rain, we did get late afternoon cloud cover, so I took Paul for a walk along our longer route, enjoying the lack of active burning on my skin. The clouds brought enough moisture with them that I was reminded why being in the unrelenting dry heat can be its own sort of challenge: I love water, and at least when you have clouds, you’re reminded that water can follow you inland, even into the desert. Water can greet you from the sky. It has been so dry, the world has felt out of whack, one out of four elements missing, missing, gone.

The theme of this year appears to be “stamina.” So many things are happening that we must simply bear with, and grit our teeth through. I keep looking for the crack in the wall, the place where something fresh and cool will rush through. Sometimes, I think I spot it, in the distance. If you believe in (or even amuse yourself with) astrology, the second half of this year is apparently supposed to be just as bad as the first. If you believe in my tarot card reading, The Tower is the past but The Star is the future. Look for the light, and hold on tight.

It can be true that hope is hard in the middle of trouble. Not just hard to find, but painful to touch. It’s so much easier to just keep moving forward by force, muscling on. This is why so many college students get sick just after finals week: you deplete yourself, and it takes time to replenish. Any time I think about the election this fall, lately, I tear up. I am still circumspect in my hopes, but the reminder that change is possible, that a different outcome is possible, is so cold and sharp and pure it cuts right through me.

So anyway. We are carrying on. We have to do it. We have to live, and we have to vote, however possible. That is how we will be the knife.