Friday, August 7, 2015

Texas is Hot and Other Not Quite Metaphors

My husband and I made our move to Houston the July we got married, all our worldly belongings stuffed in my un-airconditioned Chevrolet Monza-- a car that is no longer made and for good reason! It was like being hit with a hot, wet rag. It wasn't just hot here. It was HOT. It wasn't just humid. It was HUMID. When I started teaching the following month, I'd come home each afternoon completely soaked from the drive. We'd had heat waves in Chicago, sure. But sometimes on 4th of July, you'd be bundled in a hoodie watching the fireworks. Sometimes snow would linger in shady spots until May.  Here in Houston in July, an ice cube on the sidewalk couldn't linger for three seconds.

To mix metaphors completely, it took awhile to get our sea legs. Awhile to embrace the heat and wallow in central AC and adjust to the endurance contest that is July and August. (and sometimes September and October) To buy clothes that you could wear all year round. In Houston we joke that the four seasons are: Summer, still summer, February, and almost summer. Growing up in Chicago, every kid argued with their parents about not wanting to wear a jacket over your Halloween costume. In Houston, my son once had to take off his Frankenstein mask because he was too sweaty.

As I type this, we've hit the intense part of summer. It took a lot longer this year; we had rain from December until about two weeks ago… when suddenly the faucet turned off, the sauna turned on and now we're in the triple digits for the foreseeable future. Well, at least a week. Everything that had been blooming like crazy is now droopy and browning. If  I don't walk the dog before 9 AM, it's too hot on the pavement for her feet. The temperature differential between most office buildings and outside is like, 40 degrees.

And yet…
There is a strength in this place, in this state. (Yes, I know Texas is a crazy, crazy place sometimes.  A lot of times. And I won't even begin to discuss our politicians.) There is a beauty that comes from being able to endure heat and drought. A brilliant blooming that comes when you least expect it.

The creative life is like that too, which may explain the amazing arts communities in this state. Some days (weeks, months, years even) you simply work to survive. The muse dries up and you think it's gone forever. But it's just way down deep waiting for the weather to change. And when that blue norther of inspiration blows through, it surfaces and surprises you in the best of ways.

Told you there was a metaphor. Possibly even a cheesy one, but nonetheless heartfelt!


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