A Cooling Down

It has cooled down, finally, become duvet weather again overnight--windows open, we reach first for the sheet, which we cast away days ago when even the featherweight of the fabric was enough to jerk us sweating from a tossing-and-turning sleep. But a heavy wind, which persists through the day, causes us to get up and seek out the long-abandoned summer duvet. We awake as two duvet sausages, enjoying what it feels like to be wrapped in fabric come morning, not swimming in our own perspiration.

We go to a friend's farm for the day; on the drive over, we stop by the Parkway Market, a pillar of my childhood, to buy a bottle of impromptu champagne. In the wine, beer, and liquor section of the store (which is substantial), there is a line of champagne bottles atop a shelf. They have a few pricey varieties of bubbly, but these look dusty, as if no one has given them a second look in years. In the refrigerator, however, is just what we need: a chilled bottle of a $4.99 variety. The kindly Asian man who has been the sole employee of the store for as long as I can remember looks up from his lunch to attend to us.

We drive on, down Santa Rosa Road. We turn off at the farm. There is infrastructure now, and detritus, where once there was none; the way I remember the farm is very different from the way it is now, but I suppose this is because we used it merely as the backdrop to our own (mostly horse-related) adventures. My knowledge of the place is punctuated by remembrance: this is where we used to ride along the river to cross; this where we set up a makeshift arena, complete with a series of crossbar jumps; this is where it was flat enough for long enough to gallop full speed; here we had to wrinkle our nose at the smell of fertilizer, and here the trampoline used to sit, where we would sleep on hot nights. Now we walk down to where the sheep are kept; they look as if they might wilt under their wool in the burning sunlight. We think we can feel a heat literally radiating from them, so we feed them quickly and head to the strawberry field to pick some berries for our champagne.

"I read somewhere that strawberries have more vitamin c than oranges," says our friend.
"They do," says my love. "They're not actually berries. They're aggregated droops."
"Aggregated DROOPS?" I echo, giggling.
"Yes. Aggregated droops. D-R-U-P-E-S."
"Oh," I say. "Drupes."

Inside, we pour a small glass each and drop our aggregated drupes into the fizzing liquid. I have had something stuck in my eye since dawn, and it starts to wear on me. I retire to the office to apply eyedrops. I swoon into a chair and look helplessly around me. We decide that the only thing to do about it is to go to the cinema, so we head to town to catch the new Indiana Jones--which is more (and I don't think I'll be ruining it for anyone by saying this--I may even rescue a few helpless souls from the experience) X-Files-meets-Tomb Raider than hunky- Harrison-Ford-blunders-his-way-through-the-archaeological-mysteries-of-a-jungled-country. The good news is that a solid two hours of holding my eye in a certain way seems to have set free whatever was trapped, and I feel like a new woman.

"It seems Harrison Ford is easy on the eyes," someone says.

At dinner, we eat a little too much because it is just that good. And when we step outside to go home, a tiny chill has set in, so that I have to put my cardigan on.