Weather statisticians report that the past six months have been the warmest ever recorded in much of the U.S. We really hadn't noticed until the first week of July. We were traveling, visiting and sight-seeing in central Illinois as the media weathermen (and women) warned of a coming heat wave. To us -- and others -- it felt like hell had broken loose and come to live with us!
One day of triple digit temperatures is bearable. Two days can be tolerated with air conditioning and unlimited supplies of iced tea. Beyond that, the excessive heat becomes hazardous to plants, animals, humans and inanimate objects. For neartly two weeks we survived the constant threat of dehydration and other heat injuries.
"How hot was it?" you may ask. Well, it was so hot that:
- grass died of dehydration and sun stroke
- south Texas temperatures of 96 sounded cool
- the pavement burned our feet thru the soles of our walking shoes
- metal stair rails became too hot to handle
- water in bottles left in the truck got hot enough to brew tea
- evergreens were turning brown
- the pavement on highways and walking trails warped and buckled at places
- wild morning glories went back to sleep by 9 o'clock
- even sun-worshippers sought -- and fought -- for shade
- cold water faucets gave off steam and bubbles
- sunflowers tried using sunscreen, but they wilted anyway
- bird songs became cries for mercy
- one bank thermometer we passed read 112 degrees but most were scorched blank screens
- many plants drooped, dried out, and drifted back into that dust from which we have all come
- the daily little frustrations of life made our blood boil
- even Satan began sweating and swearing, fearing that his domain had been permanently re-located to the U.S. mid-West.