Few of us have ever experienced such a sustained 100-degree heat wave, at least not in these parts.
For many to surive it after nine days without the modern day comforts of electricity is even more remarkable, as is the calm and stoical way that folks just flat out adapted. And that’s all but completely without incident and with plenty of jockeying around to stay with neighbors, camps or anywhere else they could get some basic comfort.
To top all however, are the linemen, women and all those laboring one way or another in the midst of the heat, bugs, snakes and all the nastiest to restore said electrical comforts to the rest of us. And, they did it all on a mega-shift basis during the peak of the family vacation season too. To them we owe a heap of gratitude and as they say, this one’s for you!
For those of us old enough to remember the “pre” air-conditioning, computer, cell phone and color TV days of our youths; it really isn’t that big of a deal. You beat the heat about the way the folks did during the current heat wave. You chill out, head for the shade, basements, river or “woods” as we called it as kids. Mostly I remembered it as fun as long as you didn’t have to go to school.
Dreaded baths were a once a week occurrence on Saturday night. My grandfather was always working the fruit trees and gardens and couldn’t believe his son, my dad, would allow us such quality time in the woods, away from the agricultural chores that consumed his youth. My other grandfather called our automobile a machine and the ice cream truck like, flapper-handled, wooden refrigerator an “icebox.”
So by their standards at the time, the sweltering days would merely be just other days of the week. They both made their own wine by the way and lots of it. For thousands of years prior to our grandparents, the hot spells were handled just about the way a deer would. So looking at this under the heat-light of just a generation or two back; we really don’t have it so bad.
And of course the wild critters must make do just about the way they always have. They chill out and hit the streams and the shade of the forest. They become more calm and sedentary during the heat of the day. Deer fawns, for instance, relish in the cool waters of streams and rivers just about the way rural kids do. Urban kids can get a splash at a local pool or as authorized or not from a nearby fire hydrant.
I do however worry a lot about our cold-water trout fishery at these times, though even warm-water species can suffer due to the water’s inability to carry as much oxygen as its temperature increases. Recall that an uncooled soda goes flat way before a refrigerated one for that very effect. That in mind, I couldn’t resist checking on a favorite trout hole in the high country.
Though it was nigh a record high 90 degrees and unheard of at 3,000 feet; a golden trout eased out of its rock ledge lair just about dark. It darted ever so slowly back and forth and then sipped at the surface taking in some unfortunate bug for an evening snack. The fish was OK, just chilling out from the heat of the day.