“The sun, like a golden knife, was steadily paring away the edge of the shade beside the walls.The streets were enclosed between old, whitewashed walls. Everywhere were peace and stillness, as though all the elements were obeying the sacred law of calm and silence imposed by the blazing heat. It seemed as though mystery was everywhere and my lungs hardly dared to inhale the air.”
– Sadegh Hedayat, The Blind Owl
It’s hot hot hot in Porto. But tomorrow is going to be even hotter. There’s a chance some inland areas in Portugal will break record high temps for all of Europe – 48 degrees Celsius/118.4 Fahrenheit!
Because of the heat I went on my walk this morning even earlier than usual. I like to be out before the sun comes up and before the world wakes up. This is my first August in Europe since 2001 when Cradoc and I spent the summer in Paris. After two months in the sweltering city we decided to change our flight and leave early. We flew back to New York in early September and drove around Vermont while we waited out a storm that was brewing along the east coast.
On the beautiful fall morning of Sept. 11, in a hotel room in Saratoga, New York, I turned on the morning news around 9 AM to check the weather report just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. I didn’t understand what was going on. I wasn’t even sure if what I was seeing was really happening.
All the bridges into the city were immediately closed. With no way to get to Long Island we spent a few nights at a friend’s house. Hurricane Erin blew out to sea, but a storm we could never have predicted swept through the country. Eventually we made our way to Florida. But in the end we couldn’t stay. We left early and headed back to Canada, a place that felt more like home to us.
This morning the world was awake when I went on my walk. In the breezeless air there were already people swimming in the ocean, families already on the beach, people out walking, fishing, and driving, trying to beat the heat. Global Warming, a storm that’s been predicted for a long time, is here. And I hope all the bridges back aren’t already closed.