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A Long, Hot Summer?

Posted: May 27, 2007

I don’t think it has rained in the Tennessee Valley since the day Clifton Taulbert spoke at Calhoun College and that day was merely a tiny oasis in what has become a desert of drought. I have never seen the earth so parched. This past week the air in North Alabama was thick with smoke from wildfires as far away as northern Florida and southern Georgia.

Two months ago a killing freeze resulted in forty-one Alabama counties being declared disaster areas. Now the crops that are left are withering in the fields while to the west of us Texas is flooding. It could be a long, hot summer.

I wrote this piece of verse last August during a late summer drought.

(after reading an essay by Nora Ephron in Vogue)

It is a hot August afternoon in Alabama.
The mercury reads 96 degrees.
The humidity is 89 percent.
It feels like 110.
I am supine on my Ralph Lauren corduroy couch
Reading poems by Diane Wakoski
And listening to distant thunder
That promises but never delivers
This August I turned 62.
Too soon I will be 82.
I could be a character in a Beckett play
But I am no longer waiting for anything---
Not a husband, or a grandchild, not even
In my other life, I was a teacher.
For over thirty years I spun dross into gold.
In my other life I was an athlete.
Now I totter three miles and smear Biofreeze on my knees.
In my other life I had a host of handsome lovers.
Now I retire at dusk with my TIVOed CSI
And lust after William Petersen.
In my other life I was a writer.
Now I say “I wish I had written that” or
“I could have written that.”
Hush! Listen?
Do you think that could be

Hope you enjoyed the Alabama Adventure Weekend article. The photographs were taken by my artist friend Faylee Littrell who accompanied me to the celebration. My next feature on RiverVue will profile Alabama author Cassandra King whose latest novel is The Queen of Broken Hearts

Check out my next blog for a recipe for the perfect Mint Julep and a glimpse into how we celebrate Derby Day on Elk River.  Also, watch this space to read the poem "Midlife Crisis" that I wrote when I thought forty-five was old!!!

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