Heat, in three stages

Now.

It is not hot where I live, but warm enough for me. The west coast of Canada is known for its lush rainforest, ocean views, and wetness more than its sunshine. Still, we have some of the highest percentage of rainless days per year across the country. It suits me fine. I am not a heat-weathered girl. It is hot enough for me here when the sun is out and breeze across the ocean lies still.

moss

Home.

I grew up in the interior of this province, among mountains and fields and rivers and trees. It was hot when I was younger, but not with stifling humidity — I remember summers of bathing suits and sun burns and always looking for water to cool off in. The many lakes and rivers nearby were a welcome relief, even if they were glacier fed at times and their waters ran deep and cold.

I worked in the silviculture industry for many years; one of my jobs was brushcutting. This is where you have a weed whacker with a blade on it and clear out any vegetation around newly planted trees that will compete for nutrients, sunlight, and growth space. Because of the spinning blade, sparks can fly – literally. When it’s hot, and the forest is dry, this extreme condition is a potential hazard for forest fires. Then you minimize those chances by working “fire hours” –  getting up at 3 or 4 am, waiting for the sun to rise so you can see what you are doing as you work, and getting off the mountain before the heat of the day hits.

It’s amazing to wake up in the late, late hours of the night -or wee hours of the morning- and already feel warm. The heat just tolerable as it begins to rise with you. The flies are already dazed; they coast aimlessly in slow, drawn-out circles seeking out a cool draft. The more movements you make the more the heat suffocates. The quiet of the morning is slowly covered by the impending warmth of the day.

IMG_1926

Mexico.

One year my parents took us to Mexico. I don’t remember the time of year — probably late Spring. We’d stopped in California at Disneyland for a few days on our way down and it was already hot. The rides felt stuffy and clammy. The stickiness never washed off. When we got to Mexico it was unbearable in the hotel rooms. There was minimal air conditioning and the fans had to run day and night.

We spent the day on the beach and decided to head into the next town for dinner. Because we’d heard it wasn’t far (and my dad was cheap) we were going to walk. After spending all day in the heat on the beach, dragging three kids under the ages of 10 along an unsheltered highway was certainly not the best plan. But we walked. We ran out of water almost immediately and any exposed skin was sunburnt. I think it took us over an hour to reach any kind of civilization, although I know at least two cabs passed us as we suffered. I think my dad worried about getting ripped off so he held firm to the belief that walking was saving us money.

Certainly we didn’t save any time or our well-being. When we finally stopped walking, my younger brother almost immediately fell asleep in the chair he sat in, and I had heat stroke. I spent the next few days either throwing up or watching the fan slowly spin around the roof, adding to my nausea.

Now.

It is summertime now. The sun is out and people are shiny and happy.  I like going to bed with only a sheet to cover me and the windows open. It can feel warm some days, but it is never unwelcome. Here, with the northern breezes and complicated weather patterns, the heat knows it’s place. It leaves just as we get comfortable and start to move to its different rhythm, just as we settle into summer nights and expect it to stretch on forever.

A blog hop about ... heat!

A blog hop about … heat!

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I’m on Facebook accepting virtual company!
Also visit the incredible and wonderful duo who created and encouraged this Blog Hop: Emily of The Waiting and Ashley at Zebra Garden — these two gals dance some amazing moves with words.

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12 thoughts on “Heat, in three stages

  1. I can imagine how being in California and Mexico must have been a shock for you Canadians! When I lived in Switzerland I used to miss the heat of Texas summers. But not much. It is something you learn to avoid here, which is easier now that every place has air conditioning. When I remember my childhood, before AC in the schools, I remember fans in every classroom and lots of breaks where we put our heads down on our desks because of the heat. Sleeping at night was tough because it doesn’t cool down at night.

    • We lived in Tennessee for a summer about 5 years ago. It wasn’t so much the heat that was hard to adjust to, but the humidity. I totally get why people run at 5am! We compare living there to a Canadian winter except with the opposite coping mechanisms: in the heat everyone has the AC so frigid that you go from melting to goose bumps whenever you go indoors, and everyone ran the AC in their cars *before* they got in them to go anywhere. The same is true for real Canadian winters except -of course- you run a heater all the time.

  2. I almost suffered heat stroke reading about Mexico, too. Tania, what was going through your dad’s head when he subjected you to that? What a huge miscalculation with small fry. As you know, we recently had a week-long heat wave here in NYC. It was tolerable until the humidity kicked in full force about the third day and then just lingered like that boorish guest at the party who simply won’t take the hint and leave. It lifted a few days ago and the temperature has cooled off considerably. In fact, it was the best sleeping weather out here last night since summer started. Back to humidity, that’s what I hate most about summer. I am okay with heat, but not when it’s sweltering and I feel like I’ve been reduced to sweat-soaked misery in sneakers.

    • Vee, Pride cometh before a fall — and of course we three spawn literally did fall down with exhaustion. I always say to myself how much is something worth the effort, hassle, and frustration vs how much I have to pay to have things be easier. Usually it’s just easier (and more harmonious) to pay for whatever.
      I also am not one for humidity. I did know that you had a egg-cooking heat wave so am also glad to hear it’s become more tolerant and been shown the door. Sleeping when it’s hot is one of the most unsatisfying things: you look so forward to just resting your head, letting your mind go to mush, and slipping into some daze-y REM — and then it’s so frickin’ hot out you can’t sleep! Instead of using your oven to heat your home, you have to keep the fridge open all the time.

    • I read your comment on my phone and didn’t have the post in front of me. So when you said you liked my last sentence I thought you meant the part where I tell people to go visit your (and Emily’s) blog. Ha!
      Thanks for the blog hop idea, and your kind comment. Funny how summer is all around us, until its gone.

  3. I can’t believe you walked a highway in Mexico! OMG! I’ve been there; I’ve cousins that live there, and aside from the deadly heat, you’re lucky you weren’t picked up-! I loved this post as well; I live in Washington state, on the Olympic Peninsula … I LOVE this latitude! Aren’t the summer nights up here fantastic?! I loved the way you described the flies being dazed; I’m watching a few as I type and you described it perfectly LOL

    • Hi RavenJaneDoh,
      The walk in Mexico is etched into my mind, as you can tell. Yes, I’m sure we were lucky to escape with our lives.

      I think we live in a pretty perfect climate – not much winter, temperate summers. Flies are a good barometer for the weather. If they move slowly, the weather is getting more extreme.

    • Hello OM,
      Thanks for your comments. It is pretty beautiful where we live — and easy to take for granted when you are in it every day.
      You must be in a different hemisphere if you are not yet opening your windows.
      Wishing you sunshine and warm days!

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