Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

8.10.11 Cool Spots for Summer Relief

" In the Shade, Biskra" by Charles James Theriat -

This piece won’t have anything to say about resorts or spas or secret islands for you to steal away for vacation.

Instead, I’m wondering about antique fans and plastic fish and the shadows trees cast.

As I write this piece, an pitch-black Emerson fan circa 1930s oscillates in my study. Every ten seconds or so it sends a cool breeze of breath my way as if to say, “Keep at it, slugger, but remember to keep cool no matter the circumstances.” Its humming white noise and slight rumble on the back turn reminds me of much hotter summer nights in Texas when as a boy a fan of similar make and sound sent me to sleep.

Fans churn space into relief spots.

It’s such cool spots I’ve tracked today. A couple of hours ago, just as I was growing weary of reviewing research on mammalian emotions, my toddler girl slid open my study’s barn doors and, dressed in nothing but pigtails and a swimming diaper, said, “Water!” and pointed away from the study. I said, “Do you want to show me some water?” She nodded and uttered a sentence in her own language. I followed her out the side door.

Her mama apparently had bought from Stone Ridge Hardware one of those $20 plastic pools with images of a smiling octopus hoarding treasure and a mask-wearing duck bearing a cupcake (??) and other such whimsical fishy things on its ridged bottom. I rolled up my pants and hopped in the pool and felt relief circulate through my entire mind. I’m not sure who was happiest – me, my daughter, or the fish perennially receiving a cupcake under water.

Never mind that we have a pond the size of a small lake out back. This simple plastic circle offers this little girl an intimate cool spot to get relief from the heat and her papa a spot to get relief from himself.

And then earlier today when tuckered by too much thinking, I went to the small orchard tucked among the woods. I sat beneath an apple tree possibly close to my age. The old fellow’s leafy branches gave me shade, and I could find repose enough to remember just how big small spaces can be.

It’s relief enough to know I don’t have to travel to another country to find momentary respite.

What about you? Any favorite cool spots – big or small – you go for summer relief?

Whether yea or nay, tell us your day’s three highlights and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy

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