Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This is my very favorite time to be in Wilmington. I haven't spent a whole July here since the one following my freshman year--last year I got back in town around the 20th, and this year I'll be leaving the 13th. Mostly it's the heat, I think. I'd rather be hot than cold almost any time except for when I'm sleeping. Well actually, that's not completely true--I'd rather it be hot outside most of the time, cold inside while I'm trying to sleep, and then when it gets to be November and December and on until February, it could be crisp air and jacket weather, but no heavy coats, please and thank you.

But the heat here in July, there's something about it. When I go out in the cold weather, I am cold--unless the wind is blowing it's not so much that the air is cold but that I am cold being out in it. Or sitting inside where it's room temperature. You don't feel that, it disappears like feeling your clothes on you does. But outside in July, you feel every bit of the air and it is heavy and dang hot. And I don't know, I just love that. Nevermind that I get all sweaty and icky--I feel like it's pressing on me, like I could fold it, maybe, and that's what I love. It hems me in.

And then there's the fourth of July, and sitting on the riverfront with fireworks thudding inside all the open places in you is stock for the nighttime air and lights that really get me. The first time I ever saw fireworks in real life was in Wilmington, and I would have been fourteen, I think, the summer I lived down on Topsail. We drove down for the fireworks and when I heard them the first thing I could think was how it sounded exactly like the thunder did when I was camping a year before and the biggest storm I've ever been in caught us on the top of the mountain. I'd never been able to describe how big the thunder sounded, even growing up with all the storms and hurricanes, but this was it, this was exactly what it was.

July just has that feel. Like you could run and shout and let your head fall back and love the heck out of people. It's also something to do with how heat builds on you all day and then nine, nine-thirty rolls around and the heat's broken some, humidity coming from who knows where and ten times as thick as it is in the day, so you don't ever stop being aware of the air and its shape around you.

I'm ready for the lightning storms, the street flash-flooding. And isn't it that? The heat and the electricity, all of it building, and sometimes you just need it to break, summer like a building tension, breaking into itself, outside and I'm soaked through, ankle deep in runoff.

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