8.19.2021 – taking out the trash

taking out the trash
into the Carolina night
warm dark overallness

Karen Blixen as Isak Dinesen (or Isak Dinesen as Karen Blixen) wrote in her short story, “From the Forests and Highlands – We come, we come” about living in Africa that, “The chief feature of the landscape, and of your life in it, was the air. Looking back on a sojourn in the African highlands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air.

Having lived the first 50 years of my life in the great state of Michigan, I say that the chief feature of the landscape was also the air.

The COLD air.

Living up in the cold.

It wasn’t an Alaskan, Jack London, type of cold.

But an annoying, I forgot a sweatshirt, my feet are cold, nagging type of cold.

Always there.

Always lurking just below the surface of the warmest days.

And taking over the night even in the middle of summer.

My weather friends tell me that West Michigan is the 2nd most overcast region in the continental United States.

50 shades of gray dreary damp unoutshone only by Seattle.

Gray, dreary damp cold.

I am not enamored of the somewhat cheerful term of ‘sweater weather’.

The term ‘sweater weather’ was created by realtors or Canadians who endeavored to present a picture of a fun, if cold, lifestyle.

I now live in South Carolina.

I was outside last night.

It was in the mid 80’s both temperature and humidity.

Walking outside the dark warmth closed around me like a blanket

The type of blanket known as a comforter.

And I was comforted.

Lest you think I had forgotten my roots, the cold weather of Michigan was much on my mind.

I left my apartment and walked first into the building common stairway.

This part of the building has South Carolina air conditioning.

South Carolina conditions its inside air much like the city of Atlanta but on steroids.

As far as I can tell, air conditioners are installed and the settings are locked into the lowest possible temperate and left on forever.

Someone wrote that one of the benefits of Great Lakes beaches was that even in summer you could dig a shallow hole and bury your beer to get it cold.

In South Carolina, all you have to do to cool your beer to is leave it in the hallway.

I walked into the hallway in my shorts, T shirt and flip flops and tried to breath.

In my mind, it was Michigan in February.

Congealed is not a pleasant word.

Then I got out of the hallway and into the night.

My mindset had shifted to Michigan Summer nights.

No disrespect to Bob Seger and his sweet summertime, summertime.

Even at its warmest in Michigan, you can feel autumn moving in.

I was ready for chill.

I was ready for thinking why didn’t I have a hoodie on.

I was ready for thinking why didn’t I have a socks on.

Warm, thick socks.

And then, I didn’t think those things.

I didn’t because it wasn’t cold.

It was warm.

A thick delicious warmth.

The dark was so deep I could touch it.

I literally stepped out INTO the night.

And there was a light breeze.

There always seems to be a light breeze at night.

Just enough to keep the air moving.

After all the reading I have done of sea stories and navy adventures, I should have had expected land breezes and sea breezes.

They are real.

When the sun sets and the land stays warmer than the sea, a light breeze comes in off the ocean.

It was a delight.

It was delightful.

I was full of delight.

I had to laugh.

I had to laugh out loud just for the sake of the delight in the dark warmth.

Ms. Blixen also writes, ” … you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.”

I know what she means.

And while I can say that, I still have a hard time believing I am in South Carolina.

But be that as it way, here I am, where I ought to be.

Ms. Blixen also writes about Africa that, “Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequaled nobility.”

Not that I can say exactly that about the South Carolina shore.

But I will say this.

Everything I felt in the warm dark overallness (so I made up a word) made for me, greatness and freedom, and unequaled, well maybe not nobility but can I say satisfaction.

And I was just taking out the trash.

PS – Yes the short story, “From the Forests and Highlands – We come, we come” is better known as Out of Africa but had I wrote that everyone would be reading my essay in the voice of Meryl Streep as she used it in the movie of the same name. A voice that not too outrageously had me waiting for her to say beyork beyork beyork like the Swedish Chef in the Muppet Show..

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