I’m sorry, but you are not an an enjoyable month.
You are the Sunday night of summer — symbolizing the inevitable winding down of carefree leisure and the coming responsibilities of fall.
But at the same time, you’re so freaking hot. You’re the crest and lowest point of the season.
Your arrival means we’re also on the downslope of another year. Didn’t we just start 2018? Why did you get here so fast? Where does the time go?
Even as I want to slow summer down and savor its flickering end, you won’t welcome me outside without a wicked blast of hot air.
I’d rather surrender to the air conditioning and seek shelter inside all day.
I just want the humidity to end and the crisp air of fall to get here already. But that means freezing weather is on its way.
You’re a month in limbo. You got here too soon but I’m not ready for you to go.
Then, recently, I heard something that made me rethink our entire relationship. It was a tweet:
“Humidity is the poor man’s altitude training.”
This is referring to the principle that if you train in the mountains where there is less oxygen in the atmosphere, your body will adapt and perform at a higher level when competing at sea level.
I’ve experienced this feeling after I lived in Montana for a summer. When I returned to Milwaukee, I felt like I had superhuman lungs. The altitude gave me a new appreciation for the Midwest atmosphere.
So… August. We meet again. Your humidity isn’t going to help me grow more Oxygen-rich red blood cells. You won’t provide me with mountain-filled vistas in the Midwest. You’re still crazy hot, about 20 or 30 degrees up the thermometer than I’d prefer.
But you’re more than just a season to be endured. You’re an integral part of the life cycle. I see that now. As Alan Watt explains in his study of Buddhism:
“Ignorance is not realizing the relativity of experiences. Not realizing the inseparability of pleasure and pain, existence and non-existence, life and death, up and down, good and bad. So that as a result of such ignorance or unwisdom people try to separate these opposites from each other. To corral, to gain the good ones and to exclude and annihilate the bad ones.”
I’ll admit, I’ve been too harsh on you. Maybe I need to appreciate your unique merits that I’ll think about wistfully come February.
Drinking iced coffee.
Jumping in a pool and feeling the hot sun dry my wet skin.
The contrast of the cool early morning or late night air.
Shooting squirt guns with my 4-year-old son.
The sensation of a lake breeze in the afternoon.
In just a few short weeks, I won’t hear the sounds of my kids running around the grandparents’ yard in their swim suits with their cousins.
I’ll admit, these are some small pleasures that are best in August.
So this is me trying to transform my August disgust. Maybe someday, I’ll greet you with gusto.