Spring Fever

spring-orchard-2 The weather for the past three days has been glorious, fast-forwarded to spring, and then on to summer:  sunny and hot, under clear, limpid skies. All the trees are ecstaticly flowering, and people have emerged onto their front porches, walking their dogs and babies, exposing white shins and elbows, everyone giddy with the sudden, almost blatantly sexual excitement of spring. After all, what are all those flowers up to, really, looking so innocently picturesque?

D and I drove out to Sauvie Island on Sunday in the hope of going to a farmer’s market we like, but were foiled — it doesn’t open till June. Instead we found a funny little park that was essentially the backyard of a now uninhabited house, perhaps historic. Being always afraid of getting into trouble (doesn’t this tendency seem downright unartistic? I worry about it, my desire to stay within bounds, and not piss people off. Ha! How’s that for an absurd negative feedback loop?) I was trepidatious at first, because it kind of seemed like we were trespassing. But there were a couple of those metal grills for barbecuing that you find in public parks, and a large party of Indians picnicking, the women arrayed in piquantly colored saris, like human-sized flowers. We ended up spreading a blanket in a very old orchard, the trees gnarled and covered in lichens, absolutely exploding into blossom and giving a perfect auditory illustration of Yeat’s “bee-loud glade". As we read and drowsed, a plane moved languidly overhead, not seeming at all in a hurry or even moving with enough urgency to keep itself aloft. The sound of its engines followed it, almost visibly a beat or two behind, like a waterskier in the wake of a boat.

spring-orchard1 Unfortunately, the weather that makes for lovely lounging Sundays has turned my studio into an inferno. I don’t know what to do. The window faces southwest, and is heated relentlessly by the sun all afternoon. There is a temperature differential of about 20 degrees between my studio and the hallway, which always remains, maddeningly, quite cool.

I suppose I could put an air conditioner in, but because of the laterally sliding widow would have to block up the open space above the unit with plywood, thereby rendering the window unable to be opened at all. Which maybe isn’t such a bad thing, I suppose, because the other problem I’ve discovered about my new studio is the poor air quality outside. The building is in a seriously industrial area swarming with trucks, large & small, that pour continually up and down an access ramp which is exactly level with my window, about 100 feet or so away. Thus, when I open my window for some “fresh air” to ventilate my studio, I am often suffused with the smell of diesel fuel, which nauseates me in short order.

I talked to my dad this morning about various options — air conditioners, air-to-air heat exchangers — but when I told him about the diesel fumes, he was pretty adamant that I find another studio. Especially as a woman in my — ahem — childbearing years. I know he's right, but I can’t bear the thought of having to pick up and find another studio again so soon after moving into this one.


I'm girding my loins.