Sometimes it’s more blissful to tear it all down

The thing about writing a newsletter like this is that it is a practice: it will be different every time, sometimes better, sometimes worse, a weekly experience guided by my  state of mind. Lately there is a lot I could talk about, but it’s mostly behind-the-scenes work stuff, hurrying to finish assignments, meeting deadlines, trying to convince myself to water the garden when all that’s really left in there is a single blooming sunflower with a very small head.

The work stuff will inevitably be more interesting when it’s actually published. The garden stuff….well, it’s barely a garden, it’s barely stuff. Summer can be like this in Tucson, especially in June. It is the purgatorial month, with no monsoon, no moisture in the air, just an endless unfurling of 105-108 degree days. In 2020, we got no monsoon at all, so June, July, and August all ticked past this way, and I felt like I was going insane. Right now it’s only June 8, and the heat, while offensive, technically makes sense. I’m not right to be annoyed about it, given that I live here on purpose. I walk with Paul in the hot mornings, and try to convince him to stay on the shady side of the street. I walk with Paul in the hot evenings, and try in vain to keep both of us inside until the sun goes down. I drink water.

Staying alive in the summer, here, is a practice as well. A tedious practice, but one which eventually, in the best of cases, pays off in momentous July/August rainstorms, which roll in and flood the roads and turn the sky yellow and purple and black. I stop checking the weather at some point in May, because I know that it will always be the same: hot, hot, hot. I get used to being sweaty, I stop missing long pants and closed-toed shoes because they seem so distant from me as to be theoretical.

One summer, the first summer we lived in this house, I did keep my garden alive for a while—long enough to get enormous sunflowers, a couple of Armenian cucumbers, and one beautiful watermelon. The upside is the lingering pride which I still feel about that watermelon; the downside, obviously, was that I had to water the garden four times a day. Did you know you can just buy watermelon at the grocery store?

What’s my point here? I guess that I am plodding through, and the mere fact of my continued existence and effort will hopefully add up to something. It can be hard to believe when it’s this hot out: why would there be any meaning in it? But it’s part of the world. So the meaning, if opaque in the moment, perhaps accrues. We just have to keep going, and hopefully we’ll find out.