Monday, August 06, 2007

Summer Heat Wave

It is early Sunday evening as I write. It is still 93 degrees. The coming week will be dreadfully hot with some days forecasted to reach 100 degrees. These temperatures do not factor in the humidity that makes it even worse with the "heat index". I have lived in Kentucky most of my life. When I was a child and a boy very few people had air conditioning. The only way to stay cool was to hang out in the shade and drink lots of Kool Aid. That was the drink of choice for my mother. In the evenings even the parents hung outside. They usually sat around in their lawn chairs as the neighborhood children played. They usually had a drink, too, but I don't think it was Kool Aid. In those days neighborhoods were more of a community. I think the absence of air conditioning contributed to that. No one was isolated inside their air conditioned cocoons like today. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to being isolated. This week I will leave my home only to jump in my air conditioned car so I can drive to my air conditioned office. Kentucky summers with their high heat and humidity are my least favorite time of the year. I am more than ready for a hard frost, cool days, and colorful autumn leaves.

I went to the monastery this weekend. I got out of bed early after a good night's sleep. The morning was overcast which provided some relief from the heat. I had a pleasant and solitary drive along the country roads that lead to the monastery. Visiting the monastery is always a quiet joy for me. It is such a familiar place that I feel very much at home when I am there. I met with the usual group of people that I see every month. Occasionally there is a new face but most of us have been meeting long enough to be comfortable with one another. We have discussions about whatever we are reading, we attend prayer and mass with the monks, and usually share a pot luck lunch before returning to our homes across Kentucky and Tennessee. After leaving the monastery I stopped to see my good friend, Father Dennis. He is about ten years older than me and the closest thing I have to a big brother. In my birth family I am the oldest sibling. I have three younger brothers and two younger sisters.

Other than a movie on Saturday afternoon....The Bourne Ultimatum....and my Sunday trip to the monastery it was a quiet weekend. It is always quiet when Chloe doesn't come to visit. It's sometimes nice to have a restful weekend and also not have my left arm pulled out of its socket by a little girl saying, "Come on, Pa Paw, get up and play with me"! Of course, whenever Chloe is not around I miss her terribly. I am grateful that I get to pick her up at the day-care on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am always excited to see her. One of these days I will be pulling on Chloe's arm saying, "Come on, Chloe, help Pa Paw walk"!

Like the rising and the setting of the sun, so are the rhythms of our lives. My circle of life is small but it is alive and well. Mine is a grateful heart and joyous spirit.

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