not february

It’s hot. I’m not complaining; even when it’s upwards of 35°C, I can still remember February. 

It’s hot still when I go out for my walk at 10 pm.  The minute I step outside the air hugs in close like that blanket I’m dreaming about when I walk outside in February.  I get across the street to the lake and it’s not much better.  Everything and everyone has slowed down, even the water swells lazily against the piers, and ducks lollygag around, probably wondering why the stupid humans don’t just get in the water.  I know I’m tempted.

Even the moon looks hot, so deep in colour it looks like it’s encased in amber, hanging sluggish in the sky behind thin, black cloud ribbons.  Lovers loll about on grass pushing hair off shoulders, kissing lazily. Dogs amble along behind their humans.  A solitary skater doesn’t work too hard as he arcs on one edge of wheel, then the other. 

As I approach York Quay, I feel the smallest drop in temperature; there must be a breeze coming in from the east.  There’s a little more action down here as if the people feel it too.  Restaurant patios are full, more groups of people are hanging about on the pier taking pictures of one another.  While I stop at the end to look at that orange moon still reluctant to climb higher, a guy behind me is hitting the wooden pier with two sticks in a repetitive beat.  I might normally enjoy that, but he’s not very good at it; the beat doesn’t roll out of him naturally, instead it seems forced, with missed hits and awkward pauses.  I find it annoying and intrusive against the hot night and so I move on towards home.

Back on the quieter end, boats sway against their docks.  Most are dark, residents shut inside against the heat.  Except one fella, stretched out flat in a chaise lounge on his deck.  I’m envious; I wish I could sleep on a boat deck tonight.

I get home and I’m soaked through like a wet rag.  Not willing to go anywhere near my lovely clean sheets like this, I take a cool shower and sit down to write while my hair dries.


  1. Reply
    Mike Stone July 19, 2011

    Jennifer, your writing is getting so good. You remind me of Bruce Chatwin, one of my favourite writers. He would write about a scene with such fine detail, and I would think, ‘Geese, how can he remember all that stuff?’

  2. Reply
    Susannah July 19, 2011

    Beautiful writing Jennifer!
    “so deep in colour it looks like it’s encased in amber, hanging sluggish in the sky behind thin, black cloud ribbons.”
    You bring it all to life so vividly that I almost feel I am there with you. As I have said before, when I read these sort of pieces from you I forget I am reading, and instead I am ‘seeing’ and feeling the atmospheres you so skillfully create.
    Thanks for letting me walk with you Jennifer. 🙂 x

  3. Reply
    Jennifer July 19, 2011

    Mike, every time I put out there something that feels to me like a mediocre-what-made-me-think-I-should-publish-that? kind of thing, a friend comes along and gives encouragement. You can’t know how much it’s appreciated.
    I don’t know Chatwin – I will seek him out.

  4. Reply
    Jennifer July 19, 2011

    Susannah thank you. I thought it kind of astonishing that the moon seemed to reflect what was going on below in this little heat wave.
    I’m really glad I get to walk in this world along with you. xo

  5. Reply
    Lisa Golden July 19, 2011

    I was right there with you. This is gorgeous writing.

  6. Reply
    Little hat July 20, 2011

    “lollygag” that’s not a term used down here. It’s very onomatopaic (spelling?) It feels lazy and funny – like someone lollygagging would be on the verge of falling over at every loose step.
    Nice writing Jenn despite my inability to share your heatwave with you. I’m still in your February.

  7. Reply
    Jennifer July 20, 2011

    Lisa, I’m honoured you should say so.
    Thank you.

  8. Reply
    Jennifer July 20, 2011

    “Lollygag” is an old fashioned term here, I love such colourful terms! I often use “British-isms” because they have many – I expect you Aussies do too. One day I’ll visit and pick up a collection! I never really thought about what lollygag might mean specifically, but yes, those ducks were definitely lazy and funny.
    And thanks. And I did think of you and my other friends in your winter as I wrote it. And I expect you also have hotter summer days than our hot summer days here – you might call us babies for complaining about it!

  9. Reply
    tess kincaid July 20, 2011

    Me, too.

  10. Reply
    Selma July 20, 2011

    I really like that image of even the moon looking hot. That has appealed to me in a big way. Talk about a contrast between my world and yours – in Sydney we are experiencing our coldest and wettest winter for years. It has even snowed in parts of the state where it usually doesn’t. I cannot believe the rain. It is tumultuous. I still remember those lazy summer days. I could do with one about now!

  11. Reply
    Jennifer July 20, 2011

    I expect you’re hot, too?

  12. Reply
    Jennifer July 20, 2011

    Aw, if I could send you that hot moon Selma.
    Just read your tweet about making boats for the pond in your yard. I think it’s just the thing you should do!

  13. Reply
    Susan Tiner July 23, 2011

    This got me: “I sit down to write while my hair dries.”
    So often, while my hair dries, that’s when I feel creative.

  14. Reply
    Jennifer July 24, 2011

    Susan, it’s a precious moment isn’t it? When all you have to make time for is letting your hair dry?

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