When you work at home, you have to establish some kind of routine. If you don’t, then it is easy to fritter away the time so that the hours pass, and the laundry is not done, the bread is not made, the blog post is not written, and the pictures are not taken. My usual routine is to write and work on photography in the morning and focus on household chores in the afternoon.
But today is very hot, very humid, and I decided to flip things so that I would be active during the coolest part of the day and at my desk in the afternoon. My little schedule has been turned upside down, and it feels odd. Nevertheless, I did everything I wanted to do, just not in the usual order. When it’s 90º in the shade—and the relative humidity nearly that high—it’s important to plan activities, especially when you don’t have air conditioning.
So far, this August has felt like July. In fact, for the past five years or so August in Maine has felt more like July. Time was when August was hot and dry during the day and cool at night. The lawns stopped growing, and those who mowed them to an inch of their lives had a brown stubble rather than a green carpet. Not anymore. In central Maine, everyone’s lawn looks as lush in August as it did in June, and I can count the times on one hand when I’ve had to water the potted plants outside. I was not surprised to read in the Boston Globe that rainfall in northern New England has increased by ten percent in recent years.
Despite the heat and the rain, I am counting my blessings. A friend who recently moved to Portland, Oregon, wrote, “The heat this summer out here has been stunning, way, way out of the normal, like exponentially…. I heard that some of the big CA redwoods are showing signs of stress. I don’t even want to HEAR this. Some are 3,000 years old. Scientists are in the groves now doing some testing, also flying over to see which ones are looking stressed. We have so many fires in OR and WA now that I don’t remember the number. Not near us and not on the northern coastal area. But not far inland. Eastern OR is desert and scrub country, ranches and grasslands and some ranches are burned.”
Dare we call this climate change? Yes, I think we should. Those of us who have lived in Maine a long time have seen many changes, some of which, like the cardinals, actually seem pretty good. Other things— such as ticks and lily beetles—not so much. The heat and the rain lure these creatures farther north.
But climate change or not, the gardens at the little house in the big woods have that ragged look they always get at the end of summer. Still, there are interesting things to photograph.
Will tomorrow be another topsy-turvy day? That all depends on the heat.