Tuesday, June 10, 2008

rolling with the heat wave

It's been an interesting few days with this heat. Sunday, the hottest day thus far (101.8 in the shade according to my thermometer outside) my husband had to go pick up a refrigerator from my parents' house. They have gotten new appliances and generously offered to let us have their "old" fridge - much newer and more spacious than ours, so we accepted.

So off he went, in the un-AC'd Jimmy pulling our horse trailer to haul the refrigerator home. He had to remove the refrigerator doors, which meant a trip to Home Depot for a specific tool. Getting that thing from the trailer into our kitchen was a sort of nightmare. (especially since it was done in the dark of night) I'll leave the details to your imagination. By midnight, the new refrigerator was reassembled, plugged in, and cooling to get ready for the switchover.

Yesterday, Monday, I woke up feeling pretty good even though the forecast had been revised and we were looking at yet another 100+ day. We had hay, a new refrigerator, and our wonderful massage therapist was due to arrive at noon, to give Keil Bay an equine massage, and then come inside to do a hot stone massage for me.

Sweating through morning chores, I fed breakfast, did waters, gave hay, and walked my long walk down the hill, remembering that I was not dumping manure, but making a labyrinth. This was momentarily cast aside when I saw that the dear husband had taken some liberties with my labyrinthine path. There were several very un-labyrinthine piles in the very path itself. I grumbled all the way back up the hill. It was without doubt the sort of stomping, grumbling walk that screams Out of Balance.

When I got to the barn, there was silence. SILENCE. For a very brief moment I enjoyed it, and then I realized why the silence was unsettling. The fans were off. I had turned them on. Something was wrong with the fans. On a 100+ day.

I checked the plugs, checked the fuse box, and then it occurred to me to check the lights. The power was out. Which meant no more water from the well. I went inside, and found that the power was out in the house as well. Which meant no AC, no telephones. I took my cell phone out to the trustworthy clear-signal-spot on the deck. For five minutes, every time I tried to call out, it switched to roaming status and a recording informed me I could not complete the call.

I finally got calls in to the power company and my husband. Apparently there was a power outage in our entire area, and although they were aware of it and working on it, they had no idea what exactly caused it or when it would be fixed.

I proceeded to spread the virus of crisis to my daughter, who, in her wise way, just looked at me and said "It'll probably be over in 30 minutes. Just relax."

It's a very sobering and proud moment when one's 11-year old daughter comes through with such wisdom and calm in a moment of stress. She does this often, and I took a breath and tried to relax.

When the massage therapist arrived I was somewhat calm. We went out to the barn and decided to do Keil Bay's massage under the huge pin oak by the barn. This pin oak has a lot of good energy. I think of it as the winter solstice tree, and in the summer its shade is where we do most of our hosing off of horses. It's a good tree.

But I was agitated, and babbling about the electricity, a revelation I'd had about Keil Bay's training, and a dozen other things that kept popping up inside my head. I was not centered. Keil Bay would not settle into his body work.

We worked with him for a few minutes and I kept talking. He kept fussing. Then the fans came on, and we decided to go in the barn aisle and try again. This time, hushed by the fans, reveling in the wonders of electricity, I stopped talking. Keil Bay settled down and let himself relax into the motion of H's hands as she worked the muscles and did her magic.

As is pretty common with Keil Bay, he answered the question of the moment - how do I get this horse to stand still? Stop talking like a tape recorder. Hit the pause button on my own mind racing forward. He also answered the bigger issue I've been struggling with about how to proceed with our work together in the saddle. I need to stop trying to hire translators when I already know his language. The work with Keil Bay and me is just that - OUR work. He can teach me what I need to know.

When he was done, he took a walk around the barnyard, showing off his glossy coat, gorgeous dapples, and his characteristic swinging panther walk stride. It was like the exclamation point at the end of a sentence. You Got It, says Keil Bay. In the moment, and in the bigger picture.

Inside, my own massage was wonderful. The stones are such a presence, and H. remarked that she loved seeing all the stones around our house. They are in every room, grounding and centering.

My daughter headed out to the barn as I was beginning the massage, to hose Salina and check on everyone else. The air was blowing, the water was flowing. We'd weathered the morning's curve ball.

If while reading this you had the thought that my stomping up the labyrinth path, angry at a few misplaced piles of poop, just might be connected with the entire area losing power for several hours, you are not alone. I thought that too. My temper flared and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that just as I rounded the curve to the uppermost part of the path, let loose with a few expletives, and got into perfect stomping form, the fuses blew. In a many-mile radius. I often find that when I get completely whacked out, the universe obliges me with some very literal metaphors. And to the degree that my little hissy fit contributed to the cessation of fans and ACs and well pumps all over the county, I apologize. I do suspect given this streak of heat we're having there were probably a chain reaction of hissy fits that added up to one gigantic fuse blowing.

Today we're looking at high nineties and hopes for a thunderstorm this evening. We could use it. The thunder and rain and flashes of lightning are the perfect antidote to extreme heat and swelter of southern summer. All my life growing up in the south, the thunderstorms punctuated the heat and the intensity. The temps would rise, tensions build, tempers flare. Hissy fits would be thrown. And then the crashing and booming and hard rain would blow it up and wash it all away.

This is exactly what we need, and I'm going to be thinking about it as the day rolls on. Waiting for nature's cathartic solution to the heat. Saved from another hissy fit by a wise daughter, a good massage, and Keil Bay's "you feel it, I act it out for you" approach.

More when the heat breaks.


Rising Rainbow said...

The weather here is cooler than normal but your posts remind me I still need to dig out the fans to take to the coming show in Salem. If I don't take them along I'm sure the temps will hit the 100s.

I have to say I get just as frustrated with those piles "out of place" on the pile. It's hard enough to get stuff up there without someone blocking the way. lol

That massage sounds really great. I'm good at getting stuff like that for my horse but not so good at doing it for myself.

I'm glad that your power came back on. Not having water always panics me, let alone when it's that hot outside.

billie said...

MiKael, I had the same thing as you wrt getting bodywork for horses but not for myself.

This year I decided that I had to put myself in the massage mix and that every bit of good the massage does me it will spread to the horses. So, for now, H. is coming once a month and we are working our way through the herd depending on who needs it for one of those hours. The other longer massage spot is mine.

I hope you get to keep your cooler weather as long as you are enjoying it. Especially with shows going on!

Grey Horse Matters said...

The weather her is just as hot as down by you,it's supposed to hit 99 today and the humidity makes it all the worse to handle. We are expecting thunderstorms tonight also and I do hope it cools it off.
Yesterday my granddaughter and I had a sleepover while everyone else was out of town. I heard the generator kick on and off twice during the day, and could only think, oh no don't let me lose the air conditioning. Luckily we didn't.
I can understand the hissy fit, I like things to be just so too, but as I get older I seem to not have as many fits anymore and try to roll with the punches. A good way to think of the piles marring your labyrinth might be to just say to yourself, well I'm glad someone else helped muck and deliver it away from the barn, and if you really need it moved, well it's already half way there. Your 11 year old seems to have the right attitude toward life. The massage sounds wonderful and I'm sure you are finding things to smile about already.

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene. I was pretty mellow by the end of the massage yesterday!

I hope you'll do one of your super-duper posts all about generators one day - the different kinds, the how-tos, etc. We need to get one so we have that back up in place when things like this happen.

the7msn said...

What a great post, Billie. Your insight and awareness is a lesson all of us can learn from. And as for your hissy fit causing the power failure - I'm right there with you. Karma can be a bitch sometimes.

billie said...

Thanks, Linda.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy reading Ellen Gilchrist's novels so much is that being from the South, she writes about the weather, the way the Southern heat and humidity play a major role in the day-to-day machinations of the people who live here. And how our own moods and tempers rise and fall with the shifts in the atmosphere.

Sometimes a hissy fit is nothing more than a release of pressure, maintaining the bigger balance.

When I lived in southern CA, I noted that the Santa Anas seemed to play a similar role for folks who'd lived there a long time.