My Respect of the Sun (El Sol)
It was grilling-like hot the day I arrived on this strange thing they call a planet and the planet they call Earth, an Anglo-Saxon derivative, which of course then leads me into alas wondering what the oldest name for the planet is--and that, god-dammit, forces me to wonder from whence came the word planet and the concept of planets, why planets? And I say "god-dammit" (lower case "g" in respect for the Christian-Judaic god Yahweh...I didn't pronounce it! I didn't pronounce it!--I'm saving my soul, that which will not rot--which is a bunch of rot, don't you see?)--I have to put the needle back in the track: I say "god-dammit" because these mental excursions force me off the main highway my desire-to-write-about-it (the subject) is chauffeuring me down.
Am I confused? It runs in the family. The family patriarch died while walking hatless around his Gawjah olde plantation on a steamy hot summer's day--from heat stroke, the local witch doctors said. "It were like Gawd tetch'd'im in thah haid!" So I have to be naturally leery of El Sol, our true God, but then that's one of my wacky beliefs since the Sun has been so prevalent in my whole life. My respect of the Sun's power is my staying away from it. That's one reason I got into jazz; it was played at night, all night long. I became what we all called a Night Hawk! Those who stay up all night HUNTING! Not Night Owls now, those that stay up all night..and, yes, hunting, too...and I certainly was a Night Owl, too.
On the morning I was born, at 6:30 on that morning, an end-of August day of that year, out in far West Texas, I'm sure the temperature was already nurturing its way up into the early 80s...and I'm sure by the time I was being "goo-goo-ed" and "gah-gah-ed" it was up "rite neer a'hundurd." I was born as that hot-as-hell sun was coming up, rising up onto its throne to rule the day. That part of the world is where the sun shines most nearly every damn day of every year--El Paso, a little further on down the road from my hometown, is the U.S. city of perpetual sunshine--and in the summertime out there on the lone bald prairie it can get up way over 110--I've seen it 117 in Seymour, Texas, just north of my hometown. The prairie is bald and on the Sun's anvil because the old ranchers and farmers cut down all the trees in that part of the world--what trees there were, mostly rugged-as-hell cedar trees or nasty old gnarly live oaks and tough-ass shrub oaks, the shade if there was any coming from the extra-tough old mesquite trees, which were cut down for fire wood to cook on; and the cedars were chopped down to burn and make charcoal out of, or for fireplace wood and cooking wood, and fence-post wood--though oak made good fence posts though it made better furniture--and you were rich if you had big elm trees around your house--the elm tree the true tree--the worshiped tree in that part of the world in my day.
I'm drifting into "Trees in My Life," another dammit detour off the highway of my writing intentions, to write about time when it's 95-degrees by mid-afternoon in the mid-belly-center of Manhattan Island, a concrete-covered island that at street level on the sidewalks it doth get scaldy hot enough to boil a witch to death. And TODAY, the weather girls are lovingly sweetly chatterily (like modern girls chatter talk--have you noticed? They chop there words off like they're chewing gum while talking) telling me that today the temp is going up to 92 again--though, they quickly add, it'll feel like 101. Why not 102? I'm thinking. And, then, of course, too, they add that the humidity will be excruciatingly high and it'll be muggy as a wet dog in Hades. I mean the girls can't make it sound any worse, though they they try like hell.
Continuing this thought: I love the way these teevee talking mugs like to give the stupid viewers mother-father advice. Like on a day like this, the weather girls are telling us to seek a cool place if we're out on the street and get to feeling dizzy...and they add quaintly, "And if you're out with a pet on a day like this, remember not to lock them in the car while you go shopping." So what am I supposed to do with the damn mutt while I'm shopping at the mall except leave him locked in the damn car?--I'll crack maybe one of the windows, though I can't leave the windows down or he'll jump out and then some criminal will steal my car--so hey, he takes his chances if he comes out with me on a day like this...." I assume it's dogs the weather girls are telling us not to lock in our cars on a day like this. Nobody takes their cat out with them in the car when they go shopping, do they?
Yesterday here in Manhattan it got up to 91. That's not so bad. It's late afternoon before you feel the effects of a 91 high. Though they are warning charmingly that it will get up to maybe 97 Friday. Fortunately at night it's been cooling down quickly into the low 70s, which are close to paradise temperatures.
Last year when it got 95 up to 100 degrees here in Manhattan, I took my guitar down, sat in my bay window directly in the eye of El Sol, and wrote a little ditty. If you don't mind, I'd like to sing it for you in type:
- It's nine-ty five degrees/And I'm sittin' in the Sun/But I'm cool as a man can be/Lost in thoughts and reverie/
- The heat don't bother me/Cause my song's sung to the Sun/A song so down and cold/It freezes up His Soul/
- Now it's nine-ty five degrees/And there's ice around the sun/So I'm cool as a man can be/Lost in thoughts and reverie/
- Hey, Sun, you don't bother me/Though it's nine-ty five degrees/I'm cool as a man can be/As my song turns down your heat/I'm a man born in the desert/Now cookin' in the city/I've learned my depths to measure/By the coolness of my pleasure/To sit out in the Sun/Strummin', singin' my refrain/Soon I look up in his crying face/And it begins to rain/
for The Cool The Daily Growler (hot off the press!)