Heat Wave

It’s hot.

The prediction is 100 degrees by 5pm today. The temperature is inching up. I’m keeping the birth baths full.

I just got off the phone with my sister, who lives in Mendocino, California. Life there borders on dystopia. Rolling blackouts are taking out power to homes for 4 hours at a time during the heat wave that that’s sitting heavy on the tinder-dry West. I’m hoping that my rural neighbors whose religion is individualism, have the sense not to burn today. The state mutters “Burning is not recommended.” Their reluctance to shout “No fires today!!!” is puzzling.

I am sitting outside as I write this, in the shade of the deck, while the husband, the mastiffs and the two cats are sensibly inside where we are running the window ACs and fans and windows are sensibly shut. At least if I want to stream all the episodes of Babylon Berlin this sunny afternoon, I have a great excuse.

One gets to the point in these plague times where only the small stuff matters. Like how the garden spider, an orb weaver, has silenced one of my wind chimes with her web. I’m hoping she gets a lot of flies. I would never think of interrupting her hunting efforts. Then there’s the large snake skin I found underneath the pond pump solar panel—our resident garter snake is getting very large. Like the incident of the bald-faced hornets, I can be gratified to know she or he is getting plenty to eat in my garden. Mrs Bullfrog and Leopard frog are still in residence, and now our pond is visited by a red dragon fly on a regular basis.

My sister and I discussed teardrop-style travel trailers. Our family owned one in the 1960’s and used it every summer in camping trips along the North Coast of California. My parents slept inside it, and my sisters and cousin and I would sleep either out in the open or in a huge green canvas tent we lugged around. We called the trailer Old Bill, after Samwise’s pony who accompanied the Fellowship of the Ring on the first leg of their journey before everything went to hell. You know. Gandalf dies, Gollum catches Frodo’s scent—or is it the scent of the Ring—and the Elves try to throw them out of Lothlorien.

(Oh crap. I just googled Lothlorien to check the spelling and found a site for Lothlorien Apartments in Seattle. Oh, crap.)

I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy one summer after my sisters and my mother did. I was a teenager, and even now, Steppenwolf’s “Pusher man” brings back memories of the Fellowship’s journey toward Moria.

To this day, my sisters and I reread the books every few years. They are never boring.

While California is falling to pieces with the plague, rolling blackouts, and fires, it’s not too bad here in Albany, Oregon. Hot, yes, but quiet, peaceful, comfortable. The nutcases are gathering in large groups, maskless, like they do all over the country. At least the schools are considering distance learning and rotating classes; the universities are going digital. On Nextdoor the Wear the Damn Mask argument pops up occasionally. While I never participate, it’s so enjoyable to follow the conflict. I’d much rather do that than watch a prize fight any day.

So, maybe I’m done now. The temperature continues to rise. Criterion Channel awaits me inside. The hot days binging will begin. I’ll keep a watch out for the wildfires.



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


Heat Wave — 6 Comments

  1. Hot up on Mt. Hood too, just 30 or so miles N or you. I have DVDs of Farscape and Babylon 5 I can dig out for a comfort binge.

    Lots of tear drop trailers in the RV village 2 miles down the road, along with the huge million dollar motor homes. I could stay in a hotel with room service a lot for the cost of one of those babies.

    Nothing to do during a heat wave but hunker down and endure. Thankfully they don’t last long and they are infrequent.

  2. For San Francisco values of “hot” it has been very hot the last couple of days: 90°+. Which meant I was able to go out to a friend’s for a lovely socially distanced supper in her front yard last night. Today it’s cooler, cloudy, humid, and there is the sound of distant thunder. The last two things, humidity and thunder, are rare as unicorn teeth in this area, but as an East Coast girl I miss thunder and lightning, and even a distant rumble is delightful.

    The humidity I do not miss, and does not delight. Emily, who has never lived anywhere but in San Francisco, has clearly decided that the only way for a creature covered in fur to survive this unreasonable weather is to sleep. She’s probably not wrong.

  3. Sounds like you are making the best of it. We finally are above 80 degrees here in NW Washington, and I’m tortured because after my surgery I can’t swim for another couple weeks. I wait all year for swimming season *sigh* But, as Thor reminds me, staying alive is the better choice! Best wishes to us all in our various copings.

  4. We’re hopefully arriving at the end of our heatwave in the Netherlands, with 10 days of 84-96°F weather; there’s a magnificent thunderstorm finally going on just now.
    For the Netherlands it counts as a heatwave when we have 5 consecutive days of over 25°C (77°F), of which 3 must be over 30°C (86°F). This one more than doubled that.
    Not much compared to more southern latitudes, but almost all houses and most offices here don’t have airconditioning and aren’t built for such heat. Especially because night-time temperatures didn’t go down below 68, so the houses couldn’t cool down and started accumulating the heat.

    The Dutch climate institute says heatwaves have increased in severity and duration from one or two tropical days (over 35°C = 95°F) a year to around 8-10 in the last decades, but that the nighttime heat is growing even faster, and we should start to prepare ourselves for having several such heatwaves each year, and for them to grow worse.

    I’m nog looking forward to that, even with the windows and shutters closed all day and the fan going, it’s miserable to be too hot to sleep.

    And then we get cloudbursts instead of just rainshowers, causing drainage problems. This global warming will cause a lot more such trouble, and a lot worse, for a long time.

    • I’ve been to Amsterdam many times! Wonderful city, but yes–one goes there for the cool, comfortable climate. Stay cool!