The heat is relentless, beating down upon me, overwhelming me with its presence, choking me and pushing me down into the parched ground with only the dust to satisfy my thirst.
I am afraid to drive the car out into the open prairie – thinking that the tires will blow out or simply melt off of the rims or that the car will catch on fire, all the fluids designed to keep its internals cool enough long since evaporated.
The clay that makes up the prairie earthscape has cracked open making walking a hazardous event. Power meters are being torn from the walls of homes and starting fires as the earth recoils in horror with the relentless heat pounding it into submission. The middle of residential streets begin to seep water, which slowly rises to a miniature spring – a clue as to the burst water main below the surface.
Our lawns are yellow, the blades of grass snapping and sounding like you are walking on broken grass as your feet travel over the surface.
The swampy bogs that lined ditches of most grid roads out here in the prairies – or even along provincial highways have rescinded leaving behind the white dry cracked soil – evidence of a high salt content not suitable for any life. The couple hundred cattle that most recently perished in the southwest corner of this province is proof of what happens as a result of this relentless sun evaporating precious streams of water until they become poisonous salt licks luring their desperate victims.
Finally, after a month of no rain the last two nights bring with it thunderous applause and a brilliant light show – reminding us all on who really is in charge. But the rain, as powerful as it was, as refreshing as it may be in promise only – pounds the earth for a brief minute or two before the storm makes its way to other parts. It was only a tease – only a brief taste of reprieve – like standing at a street corner and getting drenched by a vehicle speeding by and driving through the puddle.
This was our reward for a summer of heat.
And now, August is upon us. The month where summer traditionally really lets us know what heat can mean. My only hope is that September is four weeks away and weirdly enough – even now the leaves will begin to change colour and if history is any clue we are only six weeks away from all the leaves suddenly dropping to the ground as the trees put themselves to sleep for the long brutal winter ahead.
It is a painful process living through the weather in the prairies. Going from 40 degrees Celsius to minus 40 degrees within the same year – within six months of each other. It takes its toll on ones mental and emotional state. I have succumbed to its brutalness. I am its latest victim. I can’t take it any longer.