Monday, September 12, 2005

Did you ever wonder...?

"Nature! I've got Nature on my hand! Get it off!" - Adrian Monk

Did you ever wonder if, maybe, human beings really were deposited on this planet by aliens? I've wondered about that a few times in the last couple of months.

In August, I went to Charleston, SC to see my cousin get married. The wedding was beautiful, and I was very happy to see the Greek side of my family again, but - ye gods! The ambient climate reminded me of a steam room! I am convinced that Charleston in August should comprise one level of the Xian Hell.

I spent as much time indoors as I could, behind the sweating door of my room at the inn. Yes, the door literally sweated, like a glass of iced tea. It swelled up into the jamb, too. Every morning, we had to call for my father to come break the door open in order to get breakfast. Talk about your eternal imprisonment!

Last weekend, it was time to deal with dry heat. I spent the greater part of the day outside watching a soccer tournament in Ohio. Two days under a sun boring through my skin, wearing wraparound sunglasses that hurt my ears so my eyes would stop tearing. Two days to develop a heat rash under my boobs. Two days of ants on my socks and grass pollen up my nose. Two days where the only shade and breeze available were near a stand of blooming goldenrod.

I forced liquids down my system in South Carolina because I've learned, over several visits to Florida, that humid heat makes me dizzy and even sick. Fluids are the answer, even though it makes me feel like I'm drowning when I drink them. Charleston beats Florida by a long shot in the discomfort department. In Ohio, I had the advantage of always being parched, so I didn't have to think about it before I sucked down water (not my favorite beverage) like a camel at the oasis.

Cold weather doesn't give me half the trouble hot weather does, because no one suggests that the outdoors is 'good for you' during the winter. Heck, just being outside long enough can kill you. I can celebrate my pasty-skinned state and personal library free from the criticism of nature lovers who are convinced that everyone should spend time outside, even if they develop anaphylaxis, heatstroke, or just plain hate it.

Now, I am a Pagan. I revere nature, and I respect its power. I enjoy its gifts, too, like chocolate and fresh corn-on-the-cob. But I also remember that mortal man (and woman) is too frail to directly experience the full glory of Apollo, Zeus, or any of the other gods.

Human beings don't seem to adjust well to temperature extremes in either direction. So why, when it is clear that we're about as outdoors-tolerant as an orchid out of the greenhouse, do we extol its virtues? Doesn't it make you wonder, sometimes, if we weren't cooked up in a test tube and parked here?

It makes me wonder if I was.

Sarah G


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