Susanna J. Sturgis   Martha's Vineyard writer and editor
writer editor born-again horse girl

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Lazy Day

July 12, 2005

Most summers the weather comes in blocs: two weeks of overcast and drizzle, three weeks of 90 degrees and up, ten days where the afternoon thunderstorm arrives at 3:35 on the dot. Not this year. This year we get whipped from March to August to May to July in the space of a week. It wouldn't surprise me much if the oak and maple leaves turned brown tomorrow and fell from the trees.

Yesterday we sweltered. Last night around 9:45 the lights abruptly dimmed to brownout. My neighbor and I took our dogs out for their evening constitutional and discovered that the brownout was just on our street. I read by flashlight then went to bed early. The ceiling fan wasn't working; Rhodry the sweltering Malamutt slept in the bathroom, where the linoleum was cooler than the carpet. The blinking of the digital alarm clock woke me from half sleep: the electric was back. My watch said 12:45. A front must have moved through: the air wafting through the wide open windows was crisp, not soggy.

Today was another of those glorious May days that we didn't see much of in May. Being between jobs for another day (demain le déluge), I caught up with all the little tasks that slide when I'm on deadline: doing laundry, answering correspondence, tying up bundles of cardboard and newsprint for the next recyclables collection. At half past noon Rhodry and I drove to the barn to turn the horses out. Dolci is off-island for training while her owner is out of the country, so there are only three: my Allie, the venerable Emma, and Monky, a summer boarder. Emma, a Thoroughbred, is 29 or 30. She's the only one who trots or canters a few figure 8s before she gets down to grazing. Allie and Dolci usually start eating as soon as they get through the gate.

Rhodry's energy level is inversely proportional to the heat. He found a tennis ball in the pasture then ran this way and that, dropping the ball and catching it again. Rhodry has no Lab in him; he doesn't know what you're supposed to do with tennis balls, so he makes up his own games. He bounds toward the horses, swerves at the last minute, barely notices when Emma, exasperated, gets into position to catapult him to Nantucket. Later in the afternoon, he kept up with Allie and me on a 45-minute trail ride, then he reclined in the shade to watch us work in the ring.

On the way home I stopped at Cumby's, next to the Vineyard Haven post office at the infamous Five Corners intersection, for a half gallon of milk and a pack of Doublemint. In the paperback spinner by the cash register, Bill Clinton's autobiography was stacked directly above Assassin and to the left of The Things We Do for Love -- under which was The Betrayers by Harold Robbins. Whoever stacked the rack has a sense of humor, or maybe it's the universe.


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