This past week has been a challenge with temperatures in the very high 90s. I will admit, 96, 97 degree days with or without humidity drains everything out of me, creativity, happiness, the ability to even sleep or desire to eat. (And that's a hard one to whip.)

Nights don't seem to bring any respite and so, upon rising I am even more tired, if possible, than I was when falling on the bed the night before. In truth, I can not imagine living in the deep south. Just watching old film noir stories like "To Kill a Mockingbird," where everyone is wiping his or her face with a handkerchief to remove the beads of perspiration, leaves me sticky and irritable. I don't know how they all managed to survive without killing off half the population during those hot, humid days that seemed to last forever. And yet, that is just what it has been like here for the last week. And we had other weeks like that earlier this summer. During such days, I find it impossible to write or work on the current manuscript. One can hardly conjure up a good murder when one just wants to kill any and every thing that moves.

And so along came "Earl." I know, people down along North and South Carolina had a totally different perspective than I about Earl - and rightly so. Down there, Earl was a down right unpleasant and unruly, not to mention unwelcome caller. But, by the time he came visiting up here in Maine, he'd run out of steam and he'd been pushed aside, so to speak, by some cold air giving him a good thumping from Canada. And so, when Earl arrived around 4AM Saturday morning, he had no wind left in his sails. Literally. No enough to blow out a match. Certainly nothing compared to Sunday morning. For truth.

But Earl did bring more than five inches of sorely needed rain to the area where I live. (Thank goodness. I can barely think what my water bill will be the next billing cycle since I have been watering the lawn and gardens for hours at a time every morning starting at 6AM until the heat said the water would be working upward instead of the other way and thereby a total waste of money.) In the process, the temperature has dropped at least twenty degrees, there's a good stiff breeze, and I can write again. I can sleep. I can fix a decent meal which will, in turn provide the energy to work on the next stage of this mystery with all of its twists and turns.

There is a nip in the air that smells like fall - not that I look forward to the season that follows. But fall has energy whereas hot summer days have none for me. It takes energy to plan a mystery. Energy to plan a murder. And energy to catch a killer. A good season is upon us. Now all I have to do is entice some good neighbor to bring in the dock before the water gets too cold. No place in this manuscript for a frigid body, or a dock dragged offshore by the ice that is yet to come.

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