Arts DEVO: At the speed of summer

New good dog; same good summer.
Jason Cassidy

Arts DEVO was on vacation during the production of this month’s print edition of the CN&R. Enjoy this seasonally appropriate compilation of column snippets from the archives (originally published in the June 20, 2019, edition).

“It’s another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”—John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra

Anyone who knows me or reads this column knows I am pretty obsessed with summer, and I could go on for days waxing poetically about how much I love the season.

The view outside my office window is the entrance to Bidwell Park. The forecast for the next few days is 90-plus degrees. … I can smell the chicken fat blistering on the grill.

And since I’m already in the habit of greeting the dawn and staying awake at least until midnight, the … long summer days offer many opportunities for leisure, romance, adventure, camaraderie, dog walks and playing music. Summer makes me feel younger, like I’m tapping into the cool well of those never-ending Redding summers of my youth, hopping from one body of water to the next—Whiskeytown Lake, Lake Shasta, Dave’s pool, the Sacramento River, “The Plunge” in Caldwell Park. It’s the time I feel the most free and the most in love.

But these days, the real truth is that my personal default playlist for summer doings is the “Hip-Hop BBQ” station on Pandora. Even scrubbing a toilet is a party when “This Is How We Do It” comes on.

Arts DEVO has said it before … I love the heat. Being raised in the hot crotch of the North Valley—aka Redding—I’ve been precalibrated to tolerate the 100-plus days. When a heat wave hits, I’m always taken back to those long summer days traipsing across Diestelhorst Bridge with my crew, and I am more than happy to give into being a little extra moist for a few days. I would love nothing more than to be out cruising around right now with the windows down in my Volvo with the busted A/C, stopping for lunch at a taco wagon in a parking lot and washing down a plate of carnitas and pickled jalapeños with an ice-chilled bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola.

The sun is still setting late, so light up the barbecue and enjoy the many long, hot nights we have left.

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