Here in New Hampshire we've just come through our end of what's been a memorable heat wave across the country. Many cities were identified as achieving temperatures well over 100 degrees - like 111 or so.
It didn't get that hot by our mountain lake, but the air was oppressive. Somehow not good for breathing, especially if you're a "senior" person. Mercifully we'd been urged to install an air conditioner last summer in our bedroom. And last weekend it ran three full days.
The TV showed us high wires in other places sparking and then burning. Of course, there were fires. We perspired. And joined in the general conversation about "the weath-uh."
When the weather changes you go from Out to In - or, the other way - at a moment's notice. You seek shelter, and comfort.
I've been reading about the desperate conditions in which America's Revolutionary War was waged by both British Red Coats and our own Continental Army. About Benedict Arnold leading his part of the "northern gang" across 283 miles of trudging through Maine to reach Canada and Quebec, there to stay through mosquito-infested swamps, waist-deep in slimy water and mud. Disease was rampant with small pox in both armies, miserable conditions wet and cold, with more dying from sickness than from gunshots.
We have little idea what a generation of 200 years ago went through, over eight years, to defeat the world's mightiest empire in battle, to win the freedom and liberty we in our time take so for granted.
I enjoy the inside days when they come. For me, they are study days to read scripture, to write prayers, and prepare sermons for the two little summer churches that grant Molly and me the privilege of their pulpits in the summer. In fact, for one of them more times, by quite a bit, annually, than the 32 years I preached at Colonial Church.
Of course, I write too, about other things: things which I like to think the Holy Spirit gives me to notice, and reflect upon, and better understand - in the world around me. In my life and these times. About people. About our country, our president, and other leaders giving of themselves.
But then, the sun comes out, as is happening this day as I write after the great heat wave. I see out my study window the sky turning blue again, beyond the pines and maples that guard the pathway to the beach, and the ever-inviting lake. Today I must head for the post office with this message, and then get gas for my car which is running low. But tomorrow it may be another early morning "paddle of the Pine," and perhaps a quiet, short swim in the sunshine.
Back and forth, the rhythm of summer days. What a gift they are, for me, and I hope, for you. From God.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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