It’s still hot here in Montana. Ninety-five to one hundred every day. The mornings are pretty nice still — it’s usually about 65 or 70 when I get up, and doesn’t really get hot hot until about 1:00 or so, but after that, it’s over. Too hot to think, too hot to move, too hot to do anything but hide in my house with my portable swamp cooler. Which I feel bad about. As a kid I was always being dragged out of whatever cool corner I’d found indoors, where I was happily reading a book, and thrown outside, having been told that it was a beautiful day and I should go out and play. (Sometimes, especially if we were at our grandmother’s house the variation was “go outside and play and don’t come back until it’s dinner time.”) So, as an adult, I’ve been feeling very guilty about spending so much precious summertime indoors, but it’s just too hot out there to do anything. (The tomatoes like it though.)The big solace is an afternoon dip in the river with the dogs. They’ve become absolutely obsessed with retrieving tennis balls, this, after years of dissing the retreive by the older of our two dogs. I think it’s sibling rivalry; the puppy is maniacal, and very good at retrieving all the way — that is, actually bringing the ball to you and not just dropping it somewhere in your general vicinity. It wasn’t until the puppy came up with this skill that the older dog showed any interest, but now, toss a ball out into the current of the dropping-but-still-mighty Yellowstone, and out they both go, swimming like champs, swimming so hard their front ends rise from the water like motorboats, and after a brief scramble for the ball, the big dog usually gives it to the puppy to bring in, and then they stand there, with that maniac dog look, just waiting for you to do it again. So, in the heat of the afternoon, we’ve come up with a variation, which is I stand waist deep in a big eddy and throw the ball, then while they’re retrieving, I take a little swim. Confuses them a bit, they’re not sure what I’m doing in the water without a clear goal like a ball to retrieve, but we all get wet, and cool off, and the evenings are much much more pleasant.