If I write a post about August, I’ll complete a line on my bingo board, finally. This month has seen six of sixteen completions, and I did the math the other day and realized I could squeeze all of them in if I did a post a day.
I decided not to do this, though original-Rarasaur would have surely tackled the challenge. Current-Rarasaur is trying to build a life with a little less tackling involved.
I was going to save August for the end of the month– get Bingo on a bang! Or perhaps for my birthday on the 27th. It seemed like the best prompt to wrap up the month, though I suppose any could be made to fit.
But today felt like an August day. So let’s start here. Let’s get a cup of coffee and sit down and chat.
I can drink coffee again. Small amounts, nothing fancy. Half caf on a good day, if I get to it early enough, but this is progress. I missed the coffee far less than the chocolate.
Last week I made myself a brownie.
The sun has been dense this week, setting itself into the city in compact bricks of heat. Sometimes it’s so hot you can walk into a wall of stacked light and come out toasted. Sometimes, it’s so hot you can push your arms up into the clouds and come back scorched.
If there were ever golden eggs up there for the grabbing, they are surely fried by now.
I like how this does not stop August. In another month, July maybe, this heatwave would be a call to rest. In September, an urge to slow down. But August stops for nothing, and nothing stops.
Even rest and relaxation, at this point, is timed and calculated. Five minutes at the park before we get home. A quick jog around the beach and then it’s time to work. We can get an ice cream cone on the way to school supplies.
This year, of course, you have to add: if you can afford either.
My city is hurting.
I keep mentioning that because this city is a living thing to me, and I ache for it. I know almost everyone who reads this does not live here, and might not ever even visit, but over tea and coffee and brownies, we can forget that for a second.
I can tell you about the farm workers on the fields. Their faces covered in t-shirt masks, and bodies covered in sweatshirts to keep them safe from the pesticides and light. They can see the fire just over the horizon, smell it heavy in the air. The work doesn’t stop, because nothing stops for August, and the kids start school at home this week but without a teacher to provide a spare pencil, how will they have one?
There are school supply drop offs everywhere and the city is lifting itself up, flipping itself over to do a headstand and say, look how strong these arms are. They can even hold up me.
I can tell you that our food pantries are always full and always emptied, and so many kids aren’t eating anyway. I can tell you about the prisons. How the smoke settles into their cells and they’re breathing in those body-weakening toxins in the middle of a pandemic.
Can you see them? It’s okay if you can’t. People who live here can’t see most those things.
Al fresca dining is in. We closed down city streets so that restaurants can seat patrons outside. Pork belly and edible flowers are the treats of the season. Green tomato pie, and grapefruit cocktails. I hear it’s a good time to buy beach side right now. Whole apartment structures have been evacuated of renters. You can buy the shell for a song, if you know the right words.
Even the empty shell of my beachside city sings like the ocean, full-bodied moans and operatic cries. I kinda like that we’re so noisy that we can drown out an ocean and its echo both.
And I know you’re probably too far away to hear it, but this is the time for that truth to be a falsehood: August. August when nothing stops because we have forced a start. August when the sun is a brick-layer and the ocean builds itself a stage and pours itself into the sky. August when you drip with whalesong sweat and walk through star boiled air.
August 2020, when I can hear the shell of the city below my feet, clinking, as the tunnel of it howls in my ears about all that we’ve lost, and how much work it will be to fill it up again.
August every year, when we begin again. An unrecognized new year for most, but for me, the truest beginning. My birth month.
“Do you ever stop moving?” they say at the food bank when I drag a box of cans behind me.
I was a Monday baby. An August child. An early birth.
I was born of human-staged beginnings, on starting lines that someone drew in with chalk and we all abide by.
I carry my own chalk now. Start when I need to. August is a good month for it here. Schools open and the height of harvest hits and the fires sound the alarms. Everyone empties their hands, and readies for work.
This year will be more work than most. The city is hungry, ocean-wailing, emptied of so much, and we will have to get dirty and sweaty to get things done.
But it’s 2020. There’s sanitizer and cleanser on every corner. We can make this work.
Nothing stops August.
How is it looking in your city?
Happy Cheer Pepper Day! Every 22nd of every month. Some other people celebrating:
And shout outs to:
- Dean who reminded me about Cheer Pepper Day
- Alison who is my birthday twin
- Alli who runs #WeekendCoffeeShare