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HOT AND COLD
August 2, 2006
 
I could go out and water the garden or I could write the eMo. There's a heat wave on, which would argue eloquently for the first. But there was a significant eMo famine last week, a busy one of travel and computer issues, leading some of the Farmers to wonder if I had died. It is early yet: I'll write and then water.

It is genuinely hot, but it's not bad in our house. No air conditioning, but lots of trees. We pop in and out of the bathtub many times a day -- even the cats -- and then we let the water on our skin evaporate, and that helps. We open and close windows strategically, depending on the whereabouts of the sun. That helps. We drink water and tea. I need to bake bread but will wait until Friday which, I understand, intends to be somewhat cooler. It all helps.

This is a time to read, to lie flat and read a good book. This is a time for ambient light -- light bulbs produce heat. This is a time to listen to the radio and rest. This isn't a time to move heaven and earth. Wait and move heaven and earth on Friday.

It isn't strictly true that we have no air conditioning. There is a window air conditioner in the guest room. We don't use it ourselves; it is for people so accustomed to air conditioning that they can't manage without it. I am fighting becoming one of them, for a number of reasons:

1. Depend on anything and you become vulnerable to its loss. It is dangerous to train yourself rely on something you might lose.

2. I remember a time when we didn't have air conditioning. I remember that we managed to enjoy life, and that we did so by respecting the temperature rhythms of the day.

3. I am aware that some of the world's poorest people live in some of the world's hottest countries. They don't have air conditioning. I am embarrassed by how casually we toss the word "need" round. We think we "need" a lot of things. I think they could show us what need is. The same thing is true of our young people serving in the military overseas. And of the people who live where they serve. It's hot in Iraq. Our people live in tents. So do theirs. Hot.

4. Air conditioning makes the world hotter. The heat it sucks out of the powder room you use twice a day, for two minutes each time, has to go somewhere, and it goes into our atmosphere. Somebody has to begin doing something else or we won't have an atmosphere.

5. And, finally, I am competing with my husband. He is fine with the heat, so I want to be fine with the heat. I'll be damned if I'll fold if he doesn't. Not the worthiest of reasons, but there it is.

At times like this, I always use the Weather Canticle at Morning Prayer. That's my private name for Canticle 12, The Song of the Three Young Men. Here's the part I especially like in hot weather:

Benedicite, omnia opera Domini

Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord
O heavens and all waters above the heavens
Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the lord
Praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew
All winds and fire and heat
Winter and summer, glorify the Lord
Praise him and highly exalt him forever.

Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold
Drops of dew and flakes of snow
Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord
Praise him and highly exalt him forever.

Glorify the Lord, O nights and days,
O shining light and enfolding dark.
Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord
Praise him and highly exalt him forever.
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This evening at 10:40pm: Barbara Crafton will be a guest on the Joey Reynolds show on WOR AM710 radio in New York, which streams at http://www.wor710.com/pages/46370.php.
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