"June is Bustin' Out All Over," so the cast lustily sang in the musical Carousel.
No wonder everybody was in such a great mood as summer began. The story takes place in Maine, where a cold snap is a distinct possibility, where people can get out, dig for clams and have a great old time.
I had a different take on the whole June thing. Having survived about 30 summers here in Tucson, dread encapsulated my feelings. This dread started not at the end of May but somewhere around the beginning of April, when I felt the first trickle of sweat after doing some light chores around the house. Things were going to get much worse before they got a whole lot better.
But June 2009 was different. Having spent practically the whole month in town, I now firmly believe in miracles. But before I get to the miracle part, let me say for the record that no way have I forgotten those blisteringly hot Junes I have endured in times gone by. How often have I looked up to a cloudless sky, with nary a breeze to stir the stillness in the air, as the thermometer climbed to l07 degrees or higher and didn't budge until evening.
The only way to survive this near-death experience was to rise at dawn and start my day while there was still a hint of coolness in the air. Morning activities included grocery shopping at 6:30 a.m. and swimming several times a week at the Jewish Community Center. The big attraction for me at the J was the aerator, a water machine that sent a jet of icy cold water across the pool. I would dance and frolic around under that cold jet, imagining that it was Niagara Falls. But the fun was short-lived. I had to be home by 11 a.m. at the latest and stay put until sunset.
Indoor activities included knitting scarves and shawls for the fall. Knitting with wool and other fuzzy fibers was the ultimate act of faith in the divine order of the seasons. In addition to knitting and other crafts, I made myself useful with summer house cleaning — straightening out drawers and sifting through clothes in my closet. There was plenty of time, practically the whole afternoon, to make that important decision: what to keep, what to give away.
During this period of daily confinement, I said a silent prayer to the universe that the A/C, my summer lifeline, not go out. Being totally A/C dependent, I had tremendous admiration for those brave settlers of Tucson's early days. They lived in adobe homes without even a fan to stir up the air and wore clothing more suitable for climates back east. Maybe they were out and about all night and slept all day, an idea which has always made a lot of sense to me.
As June 2009 began, my usual routine kicked in: picking out some funky yarns for a new shawl, taking out a summer membership at the J, gritting my teeth.
Then the miracle occurred. Temps started to drop into the low 90s for a high, on one occasion the low 80s, with lots of fluffy clouds in the sky, some cool breezes, even a few raindrops. Whatever happened to global warming? More important, who cared? I was almost giddy with excitement at the thought of doing errands at 2 p.m., with none of that drained feeling I have experienced in previous Junes after spending just a few minutes outside. Coming back to a car that was a crisp 110 or so degrees was a taste of paradise.
As the month came to an end this year, I extended another prayer to the universe: this time of thanksgiving, for one of the most delightful Junes on record.
And now, here we are in July, with monsoons that can cool the air down in a matter of minutes. I feel positive and optimistic about the future. After all, with June highs mainly in the 90s, can winter be far behind?