But for several years now, those extremes of summer enervate me. Quite a few times, I've nearly fainted outside in the heat. So, the usual questions arise: Is it Parkinson's? Is it aging? Is it my carbidopa-levodopa medication?
From July into early August, we had 13 consecutive days with sky-high humidity and temperatures 90+. During that spell, I left my air-conditioned house only when I could get right into an air-conditioned car. And I did that only to attend my senior bridge game and Parkinson's support group meeting. Back-porch time came only at breakfast.
The heat wave finally broke, and on Saturday I spent several hours enjoying the back porch. My housemates had invited some friends over later that afternoon for a cookout. So I decided the day presented a great opportunity to get out of the house, get some exercise, and do something fun.
After 60 years living in Washington, I knew exactly where to go.
The National Gallery of Art
And I knew exactly what to do there.
I've always enjoyed lunching in the Gallery's cafeteria with its glassed-in waterfall:
I read for a while in the East Garden Court, close to the cafeteria.
Then I moved to the West Garden Court and did what these guys are doing:
As I walked the gallery, I stopped to pay my respects to my favorite painter, Vermeer.
Vermeer at the National Gallery
The National Gallery has three of the 34 paintings attributed to Vermeer and one picture of unconfirmed provenance. The two paintings at left below are definitely Vermeer's. Experts "think" the painting at right is his.
I love having young people in the house. Their chatter is like background music... and not at all distracting to me since it's another language -- Nepali.
Then -- spontaneously -- I said to myself:
"I Love My Life "
Such "outbursts" have surprised me on many occasions. But they never happened before 1978, when I was still a practicing alcoholic and closeted gay.
I recall an especially powerful example from about 25 years ago. I had just returned from an autumn bike ride on the C&O canal towpath to Great Falls, Maryland. I paused with my bike at the top of the driveway and was struck by an overwhelming feeling of happiness. Involuntarily, and with nobody else around to hear, I said "I love my life!"
And they don't happen all that frequently these days. So, Saturday was a good day.
Sunday started off fine. But by the end of the day, I felt like shit.
And so it goes.