Walking around at night

…Because it’s just too hot to be out in the day. Not that I am free of walking to and from work under the sweltering sun. But I’m putting off being outside as much as possible. It has been over 23c for the last few days. 27c today, and I’m good for nothing when the weather is this hot. Especially since most buildings don’t have air conditioning. It was the same when I lived in Australia – only a trip to the freezer aisle of the supermarket, or my workplace, brought relief. At home I sit parked by the little fan, my thoughts broken up and slippery, sentences oozing between my fingers.

 

Fortunately, at dusk it cools down enough to go out.

 

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This is Harrison Park, in our new neighbourhood. Twelve years or so before, I must have come here. I remembered the last days of school, June 2001, walking here. Skirting the edges, not free to roam off on my own. My old high school was nearby, in a temporary building now demolished. I don’t remember those times in the colours of today. Those hours were muted, rather than splashed in today’s rich light.

 

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This is another view of the Union Canal. I love the reddish oranges scattered in the grasses and mimicked in the brickwork of the houses.

 

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Clouds of flowers, nameless to me.

 

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A boathouse decorated with paintings in various blues. Again that splash of reddish orange. And across the canal’s glass surface, a canoe progresses, almost in time with its reflection.

 

It is so hot. I’ll finish shortly, and go looking for my gym clothes to go out in an our or so when the light is the same as the pictures above. But I’ll leave you with a portion of a poem by Louise Gluck, ‘A Summer Garden’. I find it suitably unsettling, flush with memory, with the sense of things having gone or ebbing even as everything appears, on the surface, heavy with the season’s stillness:

 

How quiet the garden is;
no breeze ruffles the Cornelian cherry.
Summer has come.

 

How quiet it is
now that life has triumphed. The rough

 

pillars of the sycamores
support the immobile
shelves of the foliage,

 

the lawn beneath
lush, iridescent—

 

And in the middle of the sky,
the immodest god.

 

Things are, he says. They are, they do not change;
response does not change.

 

How hushed it is, the stage
as well as the audience; it seems
breathing is an intrusion.

 

He must be very close,
the grass is shadowless.

 

How quiet it is, how silent,
like an afternoon in Pompeii.

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Walking around at night

  1. NYC is hot and air condition-less most of the time (although, last night was freakishly cool for summer) and moments like opening the freezer door become these little pleasures.

    I loved your photos pared with the poem– It is drawing me away from this fussy, loud, hot city to a blissful, still place that seems close but out of reach.

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