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  • Writer's picturejamesbriankerr

Peaceable Man Files Issue #14: Seeking Shade

Random musings on my gypsy existence at my cabin in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania and wherever else life takes me.

Hello, friends and peaceable peeps.

I hope you’ve had a good week and you are surviving the heat.

Being that much of the country is currently suffering through a heat wave, I’m assuming that conditions in your neck of the woods are similar to the intense heat and drought we’re experiencing here in eastern Pennsylvania, where it hasn’t rained in more than a week, temperatures are daily climbing into the nineties, and lawns are looking like burned hayfields.

If that’s not the case where you live, then I’d like to come visit, because I must admit, I am not a hot weather person. Being part Scottish and Irish by blood (on my father’s side), I tend to wilt in the heat and the humidity. I sweat easily and will drench a shirt within five minutes of stepping outside. I’m also not a big fan of air conditioning and prefer a free-flowing cool breeze to that feeling of being cooped up in a closed room.

Which is why I’ve spent the better part of this past week seeking out cooler temperatures. Earlier in the week, I got out of Dodge (Dodge being the Lansdale area where my girlfriend Rachael has her townhouse) and drove up to my cabin two hours north, where it was about ten degrees cooler. It was so much cooler up there, in fact, that I could go without air conditioning except for a few hours late in the day. Then, at night, I could open all the windows and doors and let in the cool night air.


But now I’m back in hot, baking Montgomery County and I’m looking for shade wherever I can find it. At the moment, I’m sitting out on the back deck, which faces west and stays in the shade until about one-clock in the afternoon. I like to take my coffee and laptop out here and work until the hot sun chases me back inside.

My dog Cassie, too, is suffering in the heat. She seems less eager than usual to go outside these days, and when she does pull me out for a walk, I notice the way she veers toward the shade of the closest tree to get out of the hot sun. Back at the house after a walk or a run, she gulps down the water and collapses on the floor into a heap of exhausted, panting German Shorthair Pointer.

Ah, the dog days of summer. Not my favorite time of year, for sure. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons, especially the months of May and October when the temperature is in the 70s and I can walk for hours without breaking a sweat.

Still, there is much that I love about this time of the year.

I love the long days of sunlight.

I love that I don’t have to scrape my car windows of frost when I head out to the gym early in the morning.

I love that I can go about in shorts and sandals all day.

I love the abundance of the vegetable garden. The tomatoes, string beans, and squash are thriving in the heat and throwing off the produce as quickly as we pick it. Check out the basket of goodies I plucked before sitting down to write this morning. Rachael and I are loving our dinners with sun-ripened tomatoes, steamed string beans, and sauteed squash.

Every season has its delights. You take those delights with prayerful gratitude while finding ways to mitigate the downsides. Right now, those mitigation strategies for me are about staying hydrated, eating lightly, and seeking shade.

And yes, thank God for the air conditioning. I wouldn’t want to live in it twenty-four hours a day for an extended period of time, but I sure am grateful for the A/C when I step back inside after a walk in the ninety-five degree heat.

Am I looking forward to the cooler weather of fall?

Yes, but I’m intent on squeezing every drop of goodness from the summer, hot and dry as it is. This afternoon, I’m planning to make a pitcher of sun tea with mint and fresh-squeezed lemons. For dinner: sliced tomatoes topped with basil and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with a squirt of balsamic glaze.


Hope you have a good week. Pray for rain. We sure need it. ***

Some book-related news: If you live in Bucks County or plan to be in the area, please plan to join us at the Next Chapter Bookstore in Sellersville, Pennsylvania the evening of Thursday, September 15th for what promises to be a fun and hopefully informative event.

Helen Ward, the owner of the bookstore, and I will be talking about our experiences pursuing our passions in second careers following “retirement” from our primary careers. Helen, who always wanted to run a bookstore, decided to make the plunge in 2021 after decades as a teacher. And I, of course, left my corporate communications career in late 2021 to go after my dream of being an author.

Refreshments as well as copies of The Long Walk Home will be available at the event. A reminder that I am donating all my author proceeds from sales of the book this year to the Christian humanitarian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.

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