Fifty-six days and counting

So. Entonces. Looking like the hottest summer in recorded Texas history, and the air conditioner in my bedroom starts blowing air. Outside air. Cheap funky ass bargain AC. Thinking about sleeping in my car with the motor running. It's the coolest place around.

Failing ACs are rampant. A friend lost her truck AC. Now that's brutal. There are not the usual throngs of runners, bikers, walkers on Ladybird Hike and Bike. Those who are braving it look pale, peaked, and about to pass out.

They're shutting down Barton Springs for six months for maintenance. It's gotten to the delicate balance of Salamander vs. The Drought. The little guys and gals suffer when the water gets low, full of nasty stuff, and as if that weren't enough, they have to drain it to clean it. Sometimes at night before I go to sleep, I think about those shy critters only a few hundred yards away, and how precious they are. We're losing, what, 50 species of bio a month? A year? Most of the remaining are on a steady decline, except maybe for deer, nutria, 'roos.

1969--Velasco Street, Dallas Texas

Traveling in the early morning up the east coast of Australia, carcasses of gray 'roos, wallabies, wombats and other assorted marsupials strewn on the sides of the road before the clean-up ute comes through.

Picture this: dozens of grackles scattered around the yard, beaks all agape, every single one of them facing in the direction of a silent water sprinkler, faucet turned off, birds yearning for the source, as if their beaks were magnets drawn by the metal of the sprinkler head. I didn't get a photo, but the vision is engraved in my memory.

Sometimes I get sidetracked in a demanding job and am too exhausted to write. Or too depressed to write. Usually within six months or so I revisit things I've written and see a few patterns weaving together. Which in turn usually gets me going again. Seems the last 6 months I wrote mostly about the past. Subconsciously thinking back to more supportive, meaningful times in my life. I guess this is the definition of "reliving your memories." Thank goodness there are some good ones! We seek the comforting, energizing, creative times of our lives, which could be one definition of the word "love."

There are a lot of people and things that I love. The ever-changing but always there sussurration of the waves on the beach below Uncle Tom's Cabin at Dillon Beach. Whispering when becalmed, thundering like Thor's hammer in a storm. I even wrote a piece for 20th century composition class, with an ostinato bass that mimicked the eternal breathing of the sea. "In my little house overlooking the ocean, the waves never stop in their ceaseless clamoring to possess the beach." I felt the pull of the tides and the waves in my whole being. I love that.

There's a well-stuffed folder of dangerous memories in my head, too. Some I can write about, some I can't. The time the wind was so strong that it sucked out a window. My daughter was sitting on the table right by the window when it shattered, and I had a moment of panic thinking that she was so small she would be taken along with the glass. And the too-often times when my mind sank deep into the San Andreas Fault, which we lived right on top of. I would lie down with her for a bit when she went to bed, and feel the wall rhythmically and gently bump my head. Or sit by a table, leaning on the sturdy oaken top, and watch my arm move.

There's a lot that I love about the glorious and scary adventures of life in juxtaposition with intense maternal instincts.

Then there were the heart-dropping utter fear moments when someone else put my child in harm's way, and the heart-breaking despair that I could not protect her from all of it. Those memories are difficult to write. When I do, the intensity can sometimes be cathartic, or annealing, or a relief.

My memories help me define many words and ideas. Vastness: the Pacific Ocean as experienced on the western shores of California and the eastern shores of New South Wales. Diversity: the evolutionary distance among the flora, fauna and people that inhabit a land half-way around the globe. Took up nearly a decade of my life--seven years in northern California, two years in Australia.

The mythological creatures--Kokopelli on one side, the Bunyip on the other. I just hope we don't blow it in my kid's lifetime.