Heat waves dance like drunken ghosts along the asphalt streets. Birds put away their songbooks and wait in the shade for twilight. Breezes sleep their midday naps. Farmers wipe their brows and look hopefully to the sky.
But golfers, lending strength to the contention of many that there is a strain of madness in them, play golf.
Golf nuts can see reason in staying indoors when there is sleet, snow or a blinding downpour of rain that inundates the course, when the temperature is such that the greens are frozen, when thunder and lightning might disturb their concentration over a putt or when a tornado is in progress.
But when there is sunshine on a summer's day? Game on.
These days of 90-plus temperatures we've endured for the past month or so have been a deterrent to some but the addicts keep swinging.Guilty.
The smart ones play early but the problem with that is, they have to get up early and there are those of us who think rising before 8 if you're not going to work is unnatural, unhealthful and un-American.
Plus, you have to drink a pot of coffee and read the paper before you leave for the course or – this is a little known fact -- you won't make a putt all day.You could play late in the day but that cuts the heart out of happy hour, so that's out.
What you're left with is four hours of infernal strife, more than that if anyone in the group has to be inconveniently carted off from overheating.
There are disadvantages to summer golf other than sunstroke. The greenskeepers periodically interrupt play to sprinkle a green and cool it down. And the rough is at its heaviest at this time of year. If you can find your ball, which often is not easy, you could break a wrist hitting it out.
Sweat gets in your eyes. Your shirt sticks to you, and, pardon the indelicacy, so do your underwear. Ah, the things we do for love of the game.
So why endure these aggravations to play in a furnace?
Because we want to play and we don't live in Alaska. Because the 19th hole is like an oasis in the desert, only better. And maybe there's some truth to that thing about a strain of madness running through the game.