Accepting the Heat

11/17/2011 09:02 am ET

The end of summer is in sight. But in some parts, the heat lingers on, and we try to find patches of cool where we can. Afternoons under shady trees or by the water drinking lemonade. Evenings on the front porch sharing iced tea with the neighbors. Or in some cases, smoky barbecues with mosquitos and a hot cup of coffee....


By hscheiwe

My friend has this amazing ability to avoid sweating in the summer.

No, I don't think she has that strange disorder where her sweat glands don't work.

Nor has she mastered the Buddhist spiritual practice of body temperature control.

I think it's because she's from Arizona, where the dry heat literally bakes the ground into cakes of red mud (Colorado, one of Arizona's neighboring states, is named after a Native American word for "red") and people go outside for enjoyment when it's "cooled down" to 100 degrees.

Last week, we were sitting outside on a humid, muggy Indiana afternoon drinking iced tea and eating watermelon. The barbeque was attempting to cool down, or at least stop sizzling. The mosquitos were enjoying a post-hamburger feast. Most of us were Midwesterners, who, in spite of our agricultural heritage, had little tolerance for the heat, were fanning ourselves furiously. Yet, we grew more lethargic by the minute and soon quit the futile endeavor and succumbed to sweating through our used-to-be-billowy shirts.

Then we looked over to see this Arizona native sitting pleasantly dry, sipping warm coffee, and not lifting a finger to swat at the bug masses, because no bugs went near her. At first, we just thought she took longer than the rest of us to heat up. But when she didn't show a drop of moisture on her beautifully tanned skin after a good half an hour in the direct sun, we got jealous. Then angry. Then curious.

"How do you do that?" we wondered, as if she were a circus act.

"I don't know," she says, "I guess I just sit really still and accept the heat. It's not going to change, so why fight it?"

She smiled knowingly and lifted the steaming cup to her lips.

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