I am sick.
Ordinarily, this sort of frustrating stomach flu thing goes away after a day, maybe two, but after four days of Gatorade and weakness I find myself losing hope that I will ever be healthy again.
I have been avoiding the outdoors, as the heat makes me feel closer to death. (I am attributing the acute heat-induced deathiness to the illness, but now that I think about it, the heat normally makes me feel moments away from dying.) I am desperate for the rain of fall, the flaming leaves, the cool air, the wet ground. It is yet months away. I am not sure how I am going to make it.
I almost wrote that this would be my first fall back in Oklahoma, like the entirety of the last year doesn’t exist, didn’t happen. Often it feels that way–I still refer to my time in Dundee as “last year”, when in reality, in a few short weeks I will have been home for a full year and “the year before last” would be more appropriate. I am not sure why that is, but I think I mark the passing of time by the shifting of the environment, and here that doesn’t work as well. More than I remember, there seem only to be two seasons, distinguished only by the presence or absence of leaves on the trees. In the winter things are bare and brown in the bright sunlight and buffeting wind. In the summer the trees are not bare, but everything not in the shade or near a water source is still brown in the blazing sun. In my mind this year washes out like an over-exposed photograph. This place erases itself from my memory in the blinding flashes from miles and miles of asphalt and concrete in the sunlight.
I miss the rain and the clouds and the water that made up my landscape in Dundee. I miss moments like this one. I keep making plans to stay here for a PhD–the practical choice, a sound choice, a choice that allows me a lot of freedom–but some days I think the climate here will kill me.
Still, there are moments that keep me hanging on. Moments that make me forget all of the plants that have died in my care this year (All but six, actually). There is the warm satisfaction of watching the golden sunlight of evening filtering through the clear waters of the pool, when everything is hushed. There is the physical presence of the insect and frog noises at night on the porch at Jessie’s cabin, which presses against you like a blanket of sound. There is the cold of the Spavinaw creek water, the skipping of stones, the lazy naps, the filtering of light through the oaks. If only summer could be made of that, and less of asphalt and blinding light.