No, that\’s not an oxymoron. We\’re dying here. It\’s 89 F.
Remember, all things are relative. We\’ve had an amazingly cool summer so far, with temperatures barely reaching the 80s, so this heat wave comes as a shock. Also, we don\’t have air conditioning. Some people around here do, but a lot of us consider air-conditioning in Vermont an abdication. After all, why do we live here, if not because we\’re tough, and in touch with Nature, and not afraid of the weather.
All the same, as my fingers stick to the keys, I remember with nostalgia the rumble and the frigid blasts of our Maryland air conditioner. It went on in May and stayed on through mid-September. I crawled indoors in spring and pretty much stayed there until fall, venturing out for evening walks as I held my breath against the “code orange” air. It was a kind of reverse hibernation, and I hated it. That\’s why we came to Vermont.
Since weather-related discomfort is a fact of life on earth, it makes sense to pick the kind of discomfort you\’re most comfortable with. Me, I\’m more comfortable with cold. I can always put on an extra sweater, long underwear, even a hat if things get really bad. And after five minutes of tromping through snow, I\’m no longer shivering.
In hot weather, though, there are only so many layers I can peel off. Any kind of physical exertion makes things worse instead of better, and the heat makes me incapable of mental exertion as well. Inexplicably, some people love this. They smile as sweat and swelter. They look healthy and relaxed, like something from a Gauguin painting. They are the ones who screamed with horror when we told them we were moving to Vermont. “Are you crazy?” they said, “do you know how cold it gets?”
These hot days, I spend a lot of time in our bed, which is conveniently positioned under a large ceiling fan. I can nap there, and read, have a little lunch, write on my laptop. Note that these are all activities that require almost no movement. After the sun goes down, I take Wolfie out for some exercise. This is the moment he thinks he\’s been waiting for, but after he\’s retrieved a few balls, he\’s panting and slowing down and glad to come inside. Scratching my mosquito bites, I retreat to my oasis under the fan.
Soon it will be time to go to sleep, and tomorrow we\’ll be one day closer to the first frost.