Sunday, May 31, 2015

I woke up this morning to the chatter-shriek of a squirrel smackdown in the tree right outside my window. I've never heard anything so rude in my life, and I don't even speak squirrel.

This morning is as dank as a cellar hole--dark green light, swirls of wet air, tick of runoff in the gutter. The lilacs, loaded with purple, are bent nearly to the ground with their weight of rainwater.

In an hour or so, I'll drive off to Stutzmans' Cafe in Sangerville to play music--and not the theme from Gilligan's Island, in case you were wondering. Meanwhile, the grass will grow at the speed of light, and squirrels will hurl invective at their enemies.

But when I come home, I will ignore them because I will be too busy reading a Ford Madox Ford novel to care about squirrel politics. Also, I'll be trying to pretend that my house doesn't smell like a musty old sock.

This is classic June weather in northern New England. Fresh bread starts molding as soon as it's baked, and the covers of paperback novels curl up like cannoli shells. Male family members who never take off their workboots track wet driveway dirt all over the house, and the fog-ridden air bears a physical resemblance to the atmosphere of a 1975 high school teachers' lounge. Everyone is freezing cold and boiling hot and clammy at the same time, a situation that leads middle-aged women with hot-flash problems to spitefully remark, "Now you know how I feel all year round."

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