Summer Fiction: Not as Hot Here as Last Week

    Summer cooled off for a day in late spring. He ventured outside in the morning, while the birds still moved around, and men in large pick-ups went to look for strong coffee.

   The cooler air usually revived him but not this time. He saw this brief reprieve as punishment, since it would take his mind off the discipline he imposed on himself to survive another summer. He wished, morbidly, the sun could scorch the earth dry and chary, so he felt no hope of relief until the brief autumn came in to rescue him for good. 

   The Muse suggested he embrace the cloudy day. She was up earlier even than he, running her day through her mind, while he tried to readjust his heart for a cooler day.

   "What is it you fear?" she whispered in the other room.

   "I can't see this in next week," he shouted back at her.

   "What do you care about next week, when you could just be happy today?" she whispered back to his terminal worry.

   "I can't take care of today. It's already here. I can plan for next week," he thundered.

   "Yes, it is, and better because you weren't consulted. You would have made today just as hot as next Thursday, just so you could accept your lot," she sighed. 

   He could not hear her sigh but he could not not hear her thoughts. She was The Muse. She was gone, long gone, far gone, too frustrated with his vanity to remain in place but she was ever The Muse: his books of history, logic, philosophy, spirituality and music were all Her creation. No man could pick up a pen or open a keyboard without her, least of all him. She told him repeatedly to greet the day, trust his gift, expect the stars.

   "Sic itur ad astra," she had told him. When he heard her, when he looked back down past the stars and planets, reclined beneath their tree in the deep green grass field, found in the only place where the other half of his heart was full, the breeze from her sighs cooled his fevered brow and made words come.

   The next day summer returned. He regretted the loss of his one cool day.

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