I vowed not to talk about it, because talking about the weather is like talking about how Christmas comes too early and isn't it annoying how one sock's always left over when the laundry's done and kids! They grow up so fast, don't they?

I vowed not to talk about it, because talking about the weather is like talking about how Christmas comes too early and isn't it annoying how one sock's always left over when the laundry's done and kids! They grow up so fast, don't they?

On the other hand, to bring up the current weather -- that is, the killer sauna heat and humidity we've been enduring, the kind of heat that causes newlyweds to sleep apart and puppies to watch a toy being flung across the back yard without twitching so much as a hind foot in response, would be to perform a public service.

Why? Well, obviously, because if I break down and mention the heat at this point, discuss how bed sheets feel like damp paper towels, how in a hot room even the furniture is sticky and out on the lawn, the still air seems to shimmer in place, you can bet that before 24 hours have passed a crisp breeze will be blowing, the leaves will be changing colors and the temperatures will have dropped into the 50s, maybe even the high 40s.

You know how that works, right? You wake up with a temperature of 103.2, your throat's raw and pebbly and what is that all over your middle, a rash?

So you call the doctor, make an appointment -- they squeeze you in -- and by the time you're in the examination room 90 minutes later, you're in the very peak of health. Not only is your temp normal and the rash gone, your hair looks perfect, exactly the way you hoped it would look on your wedding day, when that one piece kept flopping the wrong way.

That, then, is exactly why I'm giving in and talking about the weather: to make the weather change. Who doesn't want a little breath of fall right now? It doesn't have to stay forever. Just long enough to cool the napes of our necks and make the furniture smooth again.

Weather extremes never fail to remind me of other instances of extreme weather. Not in history, of course; I mean extreme weather I've experienced personally. Experienced and survived, I should say, that being the motif running through my thoughts.

For instance, I recall a long, hot afternoon in Portugal during the now almost legendary trip known by our daughters as "the time you and Dad backpacked through Europe." We were in a seaside village, watching a sort of informal bullfight on a beach. Men and boys were running at and then away from the bull, which was never in mortal danger, though the men might have been, charging around like that in the heat. Some of the spectators had climbed on builders' scaffolding that happened to be nearby but most people were crowded around a wall that was along the street above the beach. We were there, sometimes glimpsing the understandably irritable bull, but mostly watching the other spectators: elderly women dressed in smothering black, young mothers who sat on the curb to nurse their babies, parents with their children. One father held his daughter on his shoulder, and my husband took a picture. Even now, in a new century, her cheeks are as red as warm velvet.

Connected to this day, whose oppressive heat and broiling sun seemed to go on forever, is the campground where we were staying. It, too, was on the beach, and very sandy. I remember waking up to find ants in my ears. (Oh, don't worry! They were dead ants. Mostly.)

Another hot memory: As a brash college student, I worked -- and lived on the grounds of -- a small amusement park, a job that strikes people as either dashing and romantic, which it wasn't, or as borderline dangerous, which it was.

Those of us who worked in the park's restaurant were students; those who worked the food stands were local high school kids; and the ride operators were adults named J.C. with tattoos and -- in one case, at least - without permission to take leave from the Navy.

We didn't have a lot of sense in those days, but we knew not to hang out on the beach near the bathhouse where the ride operators lived. Instead, we crawled out the windows of our own dormitory, above the picnic pavilion, and spread towels on the pavilion's black tar roof. Hot? Honey, had the place caught on fire it couldn't have raised the temperature on that roof by more than a couple of degrees.

Hey, look out the window. Are those snowflakes?