For Your Consideration: Poolside…

[For the second consecutive week, I have nothing new to write about.  My whole world right now is forgiveness and caregiving, and I ought to space those posts out, so as not to tire you with them.  So here is a reflection on the sun, not necessarily specific to my experience in Austin, but still (I should hope) worth sharing.]

When I was younger, I hated the heat.  I hated it so much.  I hated that pregnant swell of my pores just on the edge of sweat, the phantom crawling of droplets not yet oozed out.  The sun was a malignant force, slipping into my clothes and tapping me into vexation.  I couldn’t wait to get out of Texas, for the heat was simply intolerable.

I started tanning a few weeks before my Senior prom.  All I ever want out of a Summer bronzing is to eliminate the bluish glow my Caucasian legs give off under fluorescent light.  I wear sunscreen and spend a an hour each day by the pool with a book (and, often, an adult smoothie).  For so long I hated exposing myself to the heat, but it was a cosmetic sacrifice I was willing to make.  And every day I had to experience that same crawl that set my teeth to grinding.

It changed when I had my surgery.  They pulled open my neck and shaved the bone at the base of my skull.  And for two months I could not work.  I could play, laugh, write, and do some chores; but I could not drive or lift or wrangle children.  It was a mixed burden; I was forced into indolence, which was equal parts relaxation and boredom.  And hours by the pool.

And that was when I found a new metaphor for the sun.  It is not a vicious, angry force.  It is an overzealous lover who doesn’t realize that he can hurt you with his embrace.  And, oddly, this outlook has kind of made me feel better.  I no longer resent the sun as a menacing inferno that reaches out to sting me with scorching tentacles.  Now its touch is a burning caress, without malice or bale.

So I encourage you all to invite in the sun (with proper protection), which wants to be your friend.  Here’s a poem, a recipe, and a reading list to help you with that.  Happy Summer!

IMG_1553

Me by the Perez pool in #Fla2010. Because I’m not in the habit of taking self-portraits on a routine tanning jaunt.

Poolside Poem

“To My Lover, the Sun”

Soak me in sunlight
Bathe me in heat
Bury me in fire
Burning, wretched and sweet

Perk up! Perk up!
Turn to me; twist around
Reach your face up to me–
As I stretch toward the ground

Plunge me in brilliance
With ashes, refresh
Bring hard, cleansing fire
Brand stars in my flesh

I will devour you–
Make dust of your skin
I’ll scorch you all over–
Spark fever within

Let me not run
From your hot, loving bed
I will come to your altar
I will seek you instead

Lay your body before me
Let me burn it up black
This is how I love you
And how you love back.

Poolside Peach Cocktail

1 part peach Crystal Light, 1 part brandy, 2 parts peach schnapps.  Stir together and add equal amount Sprite.  Enjoy over ice.

Poolside Books

Harry Potter (obvs), The ShiningThe FountainheadA Song of Ice & FireSherlock Holmes (The Complete Collection), The Hunger Games trilogy, Pet Sematary

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