Summer brings a slight blurring to your vision, a multiplicative effect of heat waves, humidity and the slowing down required in this mid-year weather. Even the cool, quiet places seem softer around the edges. No crystal sharp mountain streams here, surrounded by edged conifers and exposed knives of newly fallen rocks. No, this is where terms like languid come from. It’s the setting Faulkner paints in most of his stories, at least as a background always present and impressing itself on his characters’ decisions and actions.
The cool pools of literary setting must have been in a different part of the world. Perhaps England or Germany, or the Scandinavian countries. Here in the Great Plains water sits on ancient sedimentary soils that cloud lakes and rivers alike to a rich broth-like color. Shallow and wide is the water kingdom here, the lack of depth bringing no cooling power to the air around. Even the secluded sanctuaries constructed for pause have little impact on the humidity, encouraging very little the occasional stroller to sit and contemplate.
Except for examining cloud kingdoms sailing stately across the sky, contemplation, I believe, requires a lack of summer. No, it demands a rejection of summer’s oven in order to protect the mind from flights of fancy. Real introspection needs the calming influence of cooling climates, encouraging body and mind to wrap around in thought, undistracted by beads of sweat and sticky clothing.
Summer deserves more tropical passion in order to celebrate and fully appreciate its heat treatment, a relaxing and trusting sinking into a hammock to rock lazily in the breeze. Forcing the contemplative perspective onto such a free-flowing season almost seems a bit irresponsible, don’t you think?