San Diego has been usually hot this year. It has been so hot we are fighting off fires earlier in the season than normal. It has been so unrelentingly dry it is actually dangerous to light a candle or stand near a pile of shrubs. I have always been the kind of person who hides from heat. I do not enjoy heat. If I’m going to the beach I’m going to go on a cool, cloudy day, preferably in the morning on a Tuesday…OR at night when temperatures are finally starting to drop.
Hot days in San Diego remind me of snow days in the Midwest. Every year growing up in Nebraska, we would have a couple snow days or late starts to school. My sisters and I would get up early, fuzzy headed, and call the school repeatedly to hear if school was canceled. The first sign of snow or frost gave me excitement knowing there was a chance I could have a whole day off from school. It was a time for hot chocolate, sledding, snow angels, and most importantly no school. If it was blizzard conditions it was a time for turning up the heat, wearing fuzzy socks, having soup and avoiding going outside at all.
A couple weeks ago, right before my sister flew in for a visit, naturally, it became unbearably hot. There seemed to be no escape from the heat. Coffee shops and stores had their fans blasting but it was not enough to take the edge off of the heat. My legs would stick to the seats in coffee shops. Everyone was sweating salt right out their pores. My feet swelled. Hot Yoga was out of the question. (Just food for thought but why hasn't Cold Yoga been discovered yet?) I find it satisfying to freeze and do yoga simultaneously in the comforts of my own home. (See picture below)
As often as I could I would find air conditioning and lay next to it. Then the fires broke out and I started to hear about people having to evacuate from their homes. It is really scary and sad what intense heat can do. This is not something that happens in the Midwest generally. We deal with tornadoes and blizzards and ice storms, but not usually fires that are so intense that no one can stop them.
Once the fires started to spread I started really praying for some rain. Then this happened: School was canceled. Since I work at a school this felt like a snow day California style. Two school districts were completely shut down on a Thursday. I did what I usually do on snow days (especially intense ice storms): stay inside at all costs. Close the windows. Plan my day around coffee, TV shows and moving as little as possible so as not to sweat. I turned our small air conditioning unit up (or down I guess). Thankfully my sister was already in town so I had a playmate for the day just like the good ol’ days in Kearney, Nebraska. School is canceled! We slept in, had iced cold brew coffee, watched some Modern Family, talked about books we were currently reading and discussed what it means to reconstruct your face with the use of tattoos. We had minty chilled mojitos out of mason jars.
Scott and I made a quesadilla bar for dinner. I used ice to cool my feet down and dreamt about rain and cooler weather. It was impossible to sleep though and there was literally nothing I could do to actually sleep soundly.
As always, in life, there are things I cannot control. I have no control over the weather or how people might view me. I have little control over other people’s choices, even if I do hold some influence. I can’t create puffy clouds and ice cold rain to stop the intense heat and fires. I wish I could stop the pain, the fragility and brokeness of being human, the emotional trauma of losing someone you love, I wish I could stop human trafficking, and sexism. Some days I just want the headache I have to go away by simply waving my magic wand. (I don’t have a magic wand…but if I did I would use it. A LOT. ) As a child I found things to do with my time during my precious snow days. And as an adult I find things to do with my time during heat infested days. I am not entirely helpless. Within the pain I experience from uncontrollable events I can choose self-care, I can choose to communicate my needs and wants. I can choose to fight for good. I can choose to send a friend a painted letter, to wrap my arms around the anxious heart, I can reach for a hand to hold, I can cozy myself with hot tea and a book full of gems. I can look for the comedy and flare of every day life. I can stay inside, breathe deeply and wait till the outside storm passes.