You may have noticed that most of my images this week have been in the evening. My main work is done in the morning and in the afternoon. It is the evening shift that I do the waters. And it is in the evening that the temperatures drop enough for the animals to move and graze. It seems that the camera will not come out until the evening.
Otherwise the animals spend all day standing still, in the same spot each time, chewing their cud in the same way, just waiting the heat out. Even the dogs and cats have found spots in deep shade that they return to each morning where they sleep and wait. So evening is our favourite shift. This is when we all come out of the hazy daze.
Last evening was the end of another day of three digit temperatures. Has it been a week so far? I don’t know how anyone works in temperatures like these for a whole summer. We were at 104 in the yards in the early afternoon when I decided to stop looking at the thermometer. Just knowing how hot it is makes me hotter.
But last evening it had dropped into the nineties and so Minty, TonTon, the Shush Sisters and I walked the farm filling the water barrels again. Minty trots at my hip jumping the gates when I do. Ton runs ahead with his frisbee and the Shush Sisters snuffle around in the mud for a little while then take themselves back into their own pen to lie in the water there. The water goes green very quickly in this weather. Water takes on a live or die significance.
I have one tap for the whole property as you know. It is by the verandah steps. So I drag hoses from water trough to water trough. I don’t open the gates I climb over them, feeding the hose under the gate like an umbilical cord. Often I have the image of an astronaut in space attached to his air hose everywhere he floats. That is me. Everything is done using the minimum of movements. It is still very hot. I have learnt this economy of movement in the heat from my animals. I loop the hose across my back and drag with one hand (100′s of feet of full hose is heavy) because in the other hand is my camera. My camera sits in the palm of my left hand laying up against my wrist. Then I tuck my loaded hand against my hip. It is not a small camera, an old Nikon D60, but I have been carrying it like this for so many years that I am surprised a metaphorical pocket has not appeared in that little hollow on the inside of my hip bone, where it leans. I should have it in a camera bag and wear it like a baby sling but I never do. When I need two hands I set it on a fence post. I don’t consciously track Camera. He is an extension of my eyes. In fact lately I have begun to suspect that Camera is starting to make decisions of his own. Like not coming out in the heat. So he is better tucked into my hand and held against my body where I can feel him. Like sunglasses on my head.
Good morning. My weather man ChgJohn tells me that today is going to be another hot one, tomorrow will be slightly better and Sunday will give us a proper break. I do hope so.
Today The Old Codger, TonTon and I are going back out to the retirement home to visit. So I had better get busy with the chores. I had intended to get ahead of myself last night but I never did. The heat hit us like a wall yesterday. With its dehydrator wind whirring away behind it. I have plants literally dying even with water. Even the weeds are drying up, curling into themselves.
But this is life on the prairies. This is how it is. And this is the life I choose. The challenge of extremes is part of who we are out here. We can still have a lovely day.
If you are in a heat wave as we are – be still like a cow. Just wait. It will be over soon. Find loveliness.