Still

There is no sign on the hillsides that it may become dark in the next hours.  I used to mark the time by the crawl of shadows up the hillsides, you see.  If the shade had crept halfway up the hill, I knew I didn't really have time for a walk before twilight set in.  Any less than halfway, and if I was quick, I could be out and back home before the crickets started their nightly din.

How long since I spent a June here?  Two years!  I had forgotten how the heat strikes you; how squinting in the sunlight all day gives you a pleasurable headache by the evening, how wide the sky seems when there are absolutely no clouds in it and how gold the brown hills look.  There's a heavy wind blowing, but it's less heavy today than it was yesterday and it will, we think, taper off in a few days' time.  Until then we are buffetted when we go outside and the sea is full of heavy, frothy, heaving whitecaps.  

6 PM: in the throes of a langorous summer day, I am supine on the couch in a skirt and a thin strapped black shirt.  "I can see your bottom," he says (my skirt has hiked up); I cannot bring myself to care--my feet sweat, my temples pulsate slightly, a breeze comes in through the window.  I read once about Oxford that "Summer is more summery here than anywhere else I know; not better, certainly not sunnier, but more like summers used to be, in everyone's childhood memories"* and I think this probably couldn't be more true; but summer here, on the ranch, is more lethargic, more dreamlike, more like summers could be, in everyone's vague and half-formed fantasies, than anywhere else I know.  

*Jan Morris, Oxford