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    It's hot.

    91 degrees and a billion percent humidity. To a person raised in the west, the warmest Vermont days are a trial. To anyone from the south or Midwest, they wonder why my panties are in a knot, because this is "nothing." I lived in Florida for two summers, I know. But I am 45 miles from the Canadian border, and the trees are turning ever so slightly towards gold. I wonder if water could be wrung from the air, like a wash cloth.

    Day 1, I am fine, imagine people paying for a sauna that feels like this. No problem.

    Day 2, I am wilted lettuce but revivable.

    Day 3, whiny.

    Because it is so seldom hot (seldom, a word with variable meanings) no one has air conditioning. Or no one with grit and fortitude.

    I work in the 3rd floor tower of an old woolen mill, and it sometimes reaches the high 80s. We are allowed to leave once it reaches 85 degrees. The interesting point is 83-84 degrees, where you wonder what you just wrote in an email, and really don't care... And when no one is looking, lift your skirt and let the fan blow up the billowed edges of fabric.

    Vermont's saving grace is rivers –– with swimming holes and waterfalls. Also reservoirs and lakes. But the best rivers are bracing and clear, and will go from a 2 ft stream to an 8 ft secret hole in a moment's notice, even if occasional leeches swim about or 2 inch spiders cling to the rock outcrops. I do not jest. I am fascinated and horrified and fascinated by these creatures that do not live in my usual geography. But I floated for half an hour, in the swimming hole in the picture above, almost shivering but not, on my back, and then kicking at the edge, then on my back again, watching unknown birds silhouette the sky. Alone in my head for a moment.

    I wish I could explain the true shock of looking down next to your hand as you lounge in Eden and four spiders out of a Stephen King novel sit placidly about 3 inches to a foot away. I think they are harmless. As for the leeches... they are unlike the 2-3 inch variety I saw in Canada when I was in high school with my cousins Holly and Scott. In my hazy memory, Scott got one on his leg and it seemed ginormous. Here, they are barely an inch, black and slimy, thin. Really, the idea of them is almost worse than the reality. Except, if you read about them. Don't go read about them, or you will focus on the jaws armed with teeth, and suckers, words like probiscus and predatory, and blood, and then you are going to email me and say stay the hell out of the water. And really, the water is the only place to be on days like today.

    Here are two residents, enjoying the next swimming hole up from the one where I floated. Concentrate on this, instead:

    Right? Totally worth the leeches and an occasional spider.

    Today, a resident from Mississippi was jogging, at a clip, when I left for a swimming hole in Jeffersonville with two other staff artists (swooning like a woman in a corset with pantaloons). I wanted to pull over and shout for him to stop but he looked like this was mid-spring. Maybe it was that he was 26 but I swear he looked jaunty.

    This is what the Gihon River looked like at 7pm, looking west.

    FYI, the reason the building to left looks misty, is mist.

    The river risen, and we were swimming in air.

    By the way, am I the only one who uses river as a verb?

    The clock rivers my spine... channels of white spaces between words.

    river

    {riv-er]

    noun

    1. a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definite course or channel, usually to the sea or a lake, being fed by tributary streams or series of diverging and converging channels

    synonyms: watercourse, waterway, tributary, stream, rivulet, brook, inlet, rill, runnel, freshet; bourn; creek

    2. a similar stream of something other than water: torrent, flood, deluge, cascade; "a river of molten lava", "a river of ice", a "river of blood"

    3. used in names of animals and plants living in or associated with rivers, e.g., river dolphin, river birch.

    4. any abundant stream or copious flow; outpouring: rivers of tears; rivers of words.

    5. a person who rives (rends, tears, splits, cleaves) [so excited to find this defintion!]

    6. Astronomy. the constellation Eridanus.

    7. Printing: vertical channel of white space resulting from the alignment in several lines of spaces between words.

    Origin

    Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, based on Latin riparius, from ripa ‘bank of a river.’


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