I need a Zen master and a mantra. Nothing I do to beat the heat is working. Not that I am a practicing Buddhist or even have my own mantra, but despite my best efforts at trying to remain positive, keep a calm demeanor and enjoy the warmth of summer, I HATE HOT WEATHER!
I don’t like the lethargy it inspires in me to want to sit in the shade and hope I will feel better about things, I never do. I don’t like the open spigot that my air conditioner is running on our power lines from the utility company and the huge house payment- like electric bill I’m about to receive.
I don’t like the dry crunchy stuff under my feet which used to be my lawn and I don’t like the way my animals behave or the risks to their health I think the heat poses.
I don’t like seeing so much of the bank showing as my lake evaporates, I don’t like seeing my shade trees shedding leaves because they are slowly dying of de-hydration and I don’t like that melted smell in my car when it sits outside in the sun.
I don’t like the feel of hot air being drawn into my lungs, I don’t like the way in which my garden dries out within hours of an overnight watering and I don’t like the stream of sweat that runs all the way down the middle of my back and I mean ALL the way.
I’m far beyond bathing trunks and a day at some public pool, I am not the guy at the race track with his shirt off proudly pushing his prodigious and sweaty belly against people in line for a cold drink and I’m not about to wear a hand towel like some Saudi sun shield hanging out of the back of my John Deere hat.
I prefer less humid skin, fewer opportunities for sunburn, and the kind of weather that inspires activity, such as we had all spring. But it seems that as soon as summer hit, so did the heat.
I don’t remember it being this hot as a kid, but then again I only weighed about 75 pounds and never knew air conditioning except at the movie theater. I do recall a few hot nights stuck to my pillow with hardly any breeze coming through the window, but we played outside all day and I don’t remember the hot sun being my enemy at all.
This past weekend I went to the Kentucky Speedway. As a season ticket holder I was invited to a party in the infield. I stood on the asphalt and listened to a driver or two talk about the upcoming race. The temperature on the blacktop was 140 degrees. Take a look at your meat thermometer. One hundred forty is the temperature of a medium steak. No wonder the soles of my feet were screaming at me through my sandals.
Now don’t get me wrong. As a red blooded American male I do appreciate the special summer attire that our female counterparts wear to deal with searing heat, but the same hot weather that inspires people to wear only the most necessary amounts of clothing doesn’t translate across all age groups and body styles equally so hot weather can give you an eyeful in more ways than one.
I know I will probably be sad to see another summer pass behind us as the trees begin to turn colors and the garden produces its last goodies but right now I am cursing the heat, so let me be.
You see, if it wasn’t for the blessing of a busy law practice, this time of the year I’d usually be headed for the outdoor air conditioning of Alaska, standing in some icy stream fly fishing all day and into the very late evenings, sitting around eating fresh salmon along some windswept coastline as seagulls and eagles soared overhead.
I’d be lulled into tranquility by the lapping of the waves, the sounds of the shorebirds, the deep moan of the shrimp boat horns as they made their way out of the harbor in the foggy dawn. I would be where I need to be for my spiritual health rather than here cursing the heat among the buzz of grasshoppers and wasps.
But you know what? That momentary daydream about standing along the coast line in cool Alaskan air took me to my own nirvana; in fact I feel cooler just telling you about it and in some strange way the deep bellow of the fading ships horn put me in a better frame of mind.
I guess I can cancel the Zen master. I seem to have found my new mantra.
Now all I have to do is practice making one of those sounds. I think I’ll shoot for the fog horn. For some reason or another a seagull squeal doesn’t sound much like a mantra to me.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com, is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a regular commentary for KyForward.