I’m not sure if you’re noticed, but it’s hot.
Why? Because it’s June and I live in South Carolina.
I have lived most of my 45 years in the South. I spent a year in Michigan as a toddler too young to remember what cold is. I spent a year in Northern Virginia as a seventh grader with no recollection other than snow, because middle schoolers – in particular Southern ones – are impervious to heat, and only form weather memories when snow falls. I can vividly remember all of the snows of my childhood. Hardly remember a moment of heat, save for the time a friend and I decided we’d drive to the pool in the car with the windows rolled up and the AC off in the middle of summer to see how refreshing the water would feel. Fun fact: high schoolers sometimes have questionable judgment.
I began really taking note of the heat once I got out of college. I took a job in Orlando right out of college, and it does its part in making summer miserable along with the rest of its Southern city brethren.
And I began taking note of this because I quickly became hyper aware of how much you can become a hot, sweaty mess if you are wearing a long-sleeve shirt and tie and have the audacity to try and walk from your car to the office in the summer.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love the outdoors, and I don’t avoid being outside just because it’s hot. But there is a line in the sand I now draw when it cranks up to 95 with 8 billion percent humidity.
My son got to experience that line recently when we met up with my dad at his cabin in the woods. We wanted to go up and spend some time visiting, and maybe catch a few critters along the way. I told Parker beforehand that we would get up early and make the hour-and-a-half drive so we could enjoy the land while the heat was not oppressively punishing. I told him he would stay until around lunchtime.
We got out there early and hiked for a bit, finding a few critters here and there. My dad said he had a tree that had fallen across the creek, and needed a second set of hands to help get it moved. Parker set off to do some fishing, while my dad and I took a jon boat upstream to attack the offending tree.
When we arrived at the tree, I moved to the front of the boat, and took a chainsaw to part of the fallen tree. After about three minutes, I had cut the tree, and we were able to then move the remaining part that was blocking the channel.
When I returned to my spot at the back of the boat, I noticed two things: (1) It looked as if I had actually gotten in the creek to do my work, as my clothes were soaking wet and (2) After about three minutes, the metal on the back of a jon boat gets REALLY hot.
When we got the boat back to the cabin, Parker was still enjoying fishing, and had also enjoyed an occasional dip in the creek to cool off. I told him I was going to change clothes, and we would be leaving soon, as it had gotten hot and nasty. He remarked that it felt fine to him, as we standing chest-deep in cool creek water. Yeah, pack up, dude.
Before we know it, the summer will be over, and we will be enjoying our cool fall temps that we all love. In the meantime, I will just keep on keeping on. And perhaps I can figure out a way I can work chest-deep in a creek for the next few months.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.