Cocoon of Climate Curmudgeonry

It helps a little to know we're 10-15 degrees cooler than Roanoke

Were I to climb inside the Fragments Time Machine, and travel back, back through ten Julys, into the calendar archives, I’d meet myself just here: on the brink of a months-long heat-induced foul mood that usually starts the middle of June. This year, I’m thinking like everything else in this upside-down climate, it is knocking on the door soon in early June.

I won’t rehearse all the physical and psychological reasons why this is, since I’ve done that here many summers before.

Suffice it to say, the floor fans have come down from upstairs; shorts and sandals and straw hat are the uniform of the day; and I plan to fall in the creek (thankfully, running higher-than-usual for early summer) a couple of times a day until we fire up the wood stove again in September. I’m hunkering down in a shady place from 9am to 6pm every day until autumn officially arrives.

But, as usual, I’m trying to put a positive spin surviving til late August with the dreaded HHH (high heat and humidity) that makes me so hot-headed. I’m making conscious efforts to remain cool, calm and focused on indoor activities not far from a fan, with water-bottle sprayer always at hand.

Inside, in the relative cool of an airconditioning-free house, I have my (40+ year old classical) guitar to restring, neglected for all of the bad-hands years, and am thinking about finding a formerly-owned steel string to purchase. I’d like to pour myself back into music, neglected for orthopedic reasons, that was once so central a part of my creative-emotive life.

And I keep coming back to other arts, since finding I enjoy doodling and crudely drawing with a stylus on the iPad. I bought Paper a couple of months back, and just this week, got ArtRage. The latter is far more complex but the creations it is capable of producing are amazing. Will I one day spring for the Wacom tablet and the Mac version of ArtRage?

My rationalization has been that drawn creations might become useful for illustrating something I may yet write that has a life between book covers. If not, I’ll doodle for the web, and mostly, just for me.

The image above doesn’t seem like much, but it required 4 layers in ArtRage and use primarily of paint tube tool for color and palette knife for color blending. I can save these “background” images, and someday, when and if I can ever sketch effectively, overlay another layer with a golden eagle against this pastel sky.

If not, no sweat.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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