“…that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude”


It’s 11 PM on Saturday night, and this is what I’ve got:

  • All the lights off in the entire house except the rice paper lamp over my head in my pink office
  • Cows making their nighttime rumbling moos far away across the street
  • A million trillion buzzing creatures outside, frogs in the stream across the way and all manner of cicadas and summery winged beings doing their summery thing
  • A very hot, very shedding black cat dancing around wanting to sit on the computer keyboard
  • Ten drippingly ripe peaches in the fridge ready for me anytime, anywhere, as long as there are many napkins also present
  • Watermelons ripening at the farm across the street, having been promised to me by my farmer today with a knowing twinkle in his eye.
  • Wild blueberries traded for chocolates in the freezer, waiting to be used as ice cubes
  • A teeny vodka gimlet made with basil simple syrup and plum-infused vodka
  • Two hours before I have to sleep in order to be fresh to conquer my two hardest cooking days of the week
  • And after that, the sweet reward of my sweetheart home from endless, endless touring.

All of this is good.


Starting on Monday I will have everything I love most in the whole entire world: fruit, summertime, and Jacob being home.

Jacob being home, however, means that these pleasantly weird, ultrahot, exquisitely internally-focused days I’ve been having will come to an end.

“Pleasantly weird” is the best way I can describe my feeling about summertime. I love summer with a clutchy, obsessive love, but its heat reminds me of my childhood, which means my joy at being able to wear dresses and eat fruit is tempered by “that inward eye,” and my emotions are a weird mix of intense gratitude (because my childhood is over), pride (at having survived it), and, to put my full extreme summertime dorkiness on full display, burning and sometimes overwhelming happiness at being alive. (See, commenter #10, I told you everything would balance out!)


Hey, I haven’t put any annoyingly navel-gazing outfit pictures on the blog in a while! I bought this dress in North Carolina, shortened it (hello, headband!) and took it in in, um, a key area, all by myself! (Why are there dresses behind me? Because my closet broke, OK?)

Is it possible for someone to be manic depressive, but only in a seasonal way? Summertime pretty much kills me with its amazingness every year—but, having grown up in a place without winter, I’m smart enough to know that true summertime joy is a pleasure best experienced when one knows its opposite.

At any rate, some of this summery intensity is closely related to solitude, and a part of it will come to an end when Jacob gets home. This is not a bad thing, not at all, but it feels right to try to capture my cloistered summery feelings while he is still off on the tourbus.


My hair needed something that day…

Being with him in the summertime means dinner out on the patio with sake, house projects, NYC trips, berry picking, hiking, bike riding—none of which I tend to do on my own (even, tragically, eating dinner), as well as several temperature-related negotiations. Most notably: moderating the punishing heat I seem to enjoy trapping inside the house. Jacob being home also means that I will notice that I like weird things about summertime, things that, when one is alone, one never really thinks about because they are just second nature but that cause many sideways glances to be directed at one when one lives with someone who maybe doesn’t share ones preferences…um…I’m trapped here in an overly clause-y sentence involving passive voice and way too many words, eek!

Phew. Let’s blame that train wreck on the gimlet, OK?

Things I Like About Summertime That I Don’t Think Anyone is Supposed to Like

  • Still air. Everyone else in my life loves moving air. My friend Than is so obsessed with fresh air that we call him a FAN: Fresh Air Nut. I love the absolute quiet that comes from open windows and no distracting fans with their annoying oscillations. Related:
  • Hot bedrooms. I will concede that yes, I am maybe the only person in the universe who still sleeps with a down comforter (vegan police!! It’s a pre-vegan comforter from Jacob’s childhood!) in August, and when Jacob surreptitiously (which, for reals, I just spelled “syrupticiously”) switches to just a top sheet and light blanket I will act OK with it. Inevitably, one night I will creep into the linen closet and get the heavy comforter out, and when I wake up sweaty and light-headed, my body basically a microwaved burrito, Jacob staring at me as if I am insane, I won’t know what to say. I like sleeping in a very hot room, OK? I suspect it’s because of the fever dreams it gives me, and I also suspect that this is so strange that I shouldn’t be confessing it to the internet. Hot weather dreams are most awesome, though, can we agree on that?
  • Fecundity. Rotting fruit, the compost with its layer of fruit flies, the sticky smell of overripe everything. It speaks to me of abundance, security, and possibility.
  • I even love my stinky armpits after sweating all day, I even love the bathroom after a shower when it’s so humid that you instantly feel like you need another shower (because I of course don’t turn on the helpful overhead fan), I even love it when I cut my feet from walking around barefoot so much, I even love it when the power goes out because of lightening storms, I even love it when you get in the car and it’s so closed in and hot you feel faint.


All better!

Of course, I love the uncompromised wonderfulnesses of summer too: swimming in lakes (well, lakes are always too cold, but I do love reading books in a bathing suit next to a lake) and wearing almost nothing and the windows down in a car and your special summer song playing just a little too loudly (right now it’s “Satellite Skin” by Modest Mouse. I’m humiliatingly obsessed with this song, and am not above air drumming to it at traffic lights.). Sandals and tan lines and ice cubes and bare legs and sunglasses and sitting on stoops drinking beers.

Well, I don’t think I have ever sat on a stoop and drank beer, but when I drive home from work on Fridays and Saturdays I see kids doing just that. The collegey girls in their Friday and Saturday summertime getups fascinate me and everyone just looks so happy and alive, and, like the rest of summer living, it’s trite but but it’s so free and easy and fun that it doesn’t even matter.

I just love it, all of it, unedited and all of a piece. Perfection.


6 Responses to ““…that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude””

  1. Donna

    Wow Lagusta! I am ready to pass out just from your description of heat trapped rooms and ripening fruits. But I think that the way that you feel about it is what suits you so well to creating the wonderful chocolates and other foods that you make regardless of how hot it is in the kitchen. I’m glad that you’re not like me in the heat otherwise there would only be goodies to eat during cold weather months.

  2. Dustin

    OMG: just –>reading<– about sleeping in the heat makes me feel sick. I, on the other hand, turn the A/C to its coldest setting AND turn a fan to blow directly on my body. Even in the winter, the bedroom must be 0 degrees. I loathe, loathe, loathe being hot at night. During the waking hours, fine. I don't know how you do that.

  3. Jordan

    you look great in those pictures like you could be 19! So youthful! Hopefully you will get cooler weather. As it has been about 20~ cooler then average out here in the West. As soon as the weather stays out of the 90s im gonna order me some chocolates!

  4. brittany

    MMMMMMMM i LOVE hot room and hot car!!! I absolutely detest fans and a/c and people who require them in order to sleep. I’ve threatened banishment to the spare bedroom many, many times!!! And lightening storm blackouts… god, what I wouldn’t give!!!

    Your summertime sounds like my spring (but not the spring you guys just had because it was miserable). And yes, there is a seasonal type of manic depression called SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I haves it. It sucks. It has something to do with the difference in sunlight available during spring/summer versus fall/winter and it induces hibernation, depression, etc. in the yucky winter months and elation and peace in the beautiful sunny months.

  5. Kara

    As much as you try to exorcise the Arizona in you, it’s still there, isn’t it? The absolute joy at being over-hot (when you can smell the heat itself) sticks with me, too.


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