Many parts of the country, and the world, are in the grip of a fearsome heatwave. It’s causing power outages and fires, and murky, debilitating air. All over town we’re seeing people felled by the stunning heat, oving ever so slowly, taking refuge under shady trees. We’ve found ourselves hiding out, working at partial power, desperately needing restorative naps and ways to feel cool.

We know that refreshing virtual pleasures CAN help us cope; they fuel breezes in our heads. Here are our favorites starting with Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s woodcut (c 1800) of a woman praying under a waterfall, above. We imagine ourselves there, sitting quietly under the thunderous rush of cool water…

swingin' in the rain

When we imagine Martha and the Vandella’s heatwave being love and crazy passion, we find the heatwave shifts into something more pleasurable…


This teeny video from Ellen Silverman provides a zennish moment of beachy relief…

Seeing Hermeto Pascoal’s astonishing Musica de Lagoa, made in a lagoon, beams us into that cool, refreshing water that is really a musical instrument…

The great 8th century Chinese poet Li Po makes us feel the wind from the pine…

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.

We love revisiting this video of artist Francis Alys pushing a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City. The cumbersome block gradually diminishes to the size of a tennis ball until it finally melts into a puddle of water on the pavement. His message, perfect for this strange, lethargic time: “progress is not inevitable – sometimes making something leads to nothing.”

We take heart in the fact that the heat will break soon (it always does). Then we’ll regain the wild sweetness of summer, with Martha and the Vandelas reminding us to DANCE.

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