Monday, July 19, 2010

The Rainmaker

I like to sleep with the window open
And you keep the window closed

So goodbye

—Paul Simon

I like the windows open. (Fortunately, so does My Beloved.) I like the sounds drifting up from the street, I like the cream-colored curtains billowing with a breeze, I like feeling connected to the world outside. But it's been hot here, really hot, and we've been closing the windows and running the air conditioner all the damn time. I hate that/I love that/I hate that/I love that.

I'm conflicted about my relationship with the air conditioner. But I'm more conflicted about feeling sweaty, sticky, clammy and gross, and about contorting myself into unattractive positions so that no piece of my flesh touches any other piece of my flesh.

Thus, the air conditioner runs several hours a day and we do our communing with nature in the early morning and the late afternoon/evening, when the air feels more like the caress of a silk scarf and less like the lick of a large dog. And we, like Paul Simon, sleep with the window open.

The other morning, I was having one of those especially vivid and surreal dreams that I swear are swirled up when your sleeping body is a little too warm. This one had to do with a cryogenic chamber buried in my parents' backyard. I wasn't sorry when I woke out of it, even if it was 5:30 in the morning. I got up and went to the window, and saw this:

And then this:

I'm not usually a sunrise kind of gal, so this felt like a reward for virtue.

There are other rewards awaiting us out there on the fringes of the day. Like the trail of breadcrumbs I found on my morning river walk today:

There were more than a dozen of them. I hoped to find a chalked "YES!" at the end of the line, but I'm afraid the mystery remains unsolved. She couldn't have said no...could she?

The light this morning was eerie—a dark gray sky foretelling an oncoming rainstorm, with the sun sliding through underneath. It made Jersey City seem downright compelling.

The other evening, after working at our desks in the artificial air all day long, we wandered down to the water again, just in time for the sunset.

The sky and our mood mellowed.

And when we discovered a tango class in progress at the end of the pier, it made perfect sense in a Felliniesque kind of way.

Then we went home and threw open the windows and let the sirens and the whoops of laughter and the clop of horse hooves drift up to us on the breeze.


S said...

oh how beautiful all of this is! and i love your dislike for the air conditioning- bec i, *detest* it, it makes me uncomfortable. sadly,when in Pakistan, we cannot live w/o it, in the soaring 40C+temps, but i would gladly do without it here in Toronto and in the malls! (i dislike having to take my cardi and shawl with me)/ here's to more Felliniesque moments in your life. xxx shayma

That's Not My Age said...

We're having a bit of a heatwave in London at the moment - though it's not as hot as NY - and like to keep our bedroom window open. I like the cool breeze and the sound of the city waking up in the morning.

Unknown said...

how lovely and true all this is....makes me miss my city, even in the sweltering heat. I love watching the dancers---we do it often! see you soon from another Paul Simon fan.

Michele Hush said...

A fabulous post, Susan. The words are poetic, the photography is evocative, the love for your new city is palpable. And yes, the tango class makes all the sense in the world.

But I want to know how the darned proposal turned out! Maybe @NewYorkology could put out a query.

Marilyn said...

This a gift today, cutting through our own humid fog like the sun. What a wonderful eye you have, what a New Yorker ear you've developed! Love it.

Susan Champlin said...

Dear Shayma: I can imagine the heat in Pakistan; I've never been hotter than in southern India—and never more grateful for air conditioning (when we found it)! But I am with you on those overly refrigerated malls; as if I needed one more reason to hate malls.

Dear That's Not My Age: I would so love to hear the sounds of London when I wake up in the morning. Thanks for crossing the Pond to visit my blog.

Dear Florrie: Let's go watch the dancers together some time in the cool of the evening.

Dear Michele: Thank you so much—and what a good thought about NewYorkology. I tweeted her about it. We'll see if she takes up the cause.

Dear Marilyn: Thank you for those lovely words, from a model of blog loveliness.

Stephanie said...

Very sweet and well-written! I enjoyed this so much.