Summer. Officially here. When the sun beats down, the grass dries out and the pavement will burn your soft feet.
When the temperature climbs to 90 or more, and the air has enough humidity for you to notice, that’s a Midwest summer day.
Heat, I can deal with. Humidity, not so much. My body reacts badly to humidity. Not only does the heart work harder, beating more rapid to help expel heat from the body, humidity is known to impact air pressure in the brain and deceases the amount of oxygen available to your internal computer. Blood vessels change, expanding or contracting, in accordance to the change in blood flow, and any air inside your head in sinus cavities or the inner ear, create pressure changes and increases chances of a sinus headache. Humidity can be like pulling a weight-bearing support from a building foundation with the body collapsing as a result. Cheery picture.
Okay, lower humidity, higher heat, that is a different situation. I actually like the heat; it is the winters I can no longer stand. What is it about the sun, the brightness overhead and the sizzle, that gives us energy. The sun is the original power plant. In summer months, 90 degrees is a daily forecast. Ninety feels warmer when the temperature goes from the upper 70s to the low 90s in one heartbeat. Summer shifts into a hotter gear.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest in the summer. Protection from the direct rays is crucial to prevent skin damage and the risk of cancer. With sunscreen and proper attire, one can still enjoy the warmth and the beauty that comes with summer. I wear a hat when I am outside to avoid the sun bearing down on my head or skin. Even though your heart might beat faster (see above), it is a good feeling.
Do not get me wrong, heat is okay, sweltering heat, laden with moisture, without a mild breeze – shoot me now. Nineties, with a hint of a breeze is okay with me. I will sit in the shade with a cool drink and a book. Give me the summer heat over the chilling winter cold. The older I get, the harder it is for me to warm up. Sometimes it takes me from February to April to thaw my veins.
A lower average body temperature is supposed to be good, as in a lower metabolic rate and increased longevity. Your skin may be up to ten degrees cooler or warmer than your core. Remember, the heart reacts to temperature changes, and the need to expel heat as part of regulating your body temperature, or ramping up your internal engine if you are cold.
How many people get into their car after it has been sitting in the sun, and instead of cranking up the air, roll the windows down and drive off. More days than not, this is what I do when I drive home from work. The heat actually feels good. Spending hours in the cold air conditioning, the heat revives me. If you crack the windows and use a windshield shade, you can keep from burning your hands on the steering wheel and the dashboard from melting. I grew up with window air conditioners, not A/C in the family car, and grandparents with the old water-cooler type cooling contraption.
Unfortunately, the humidity of the Midwest can reduce a grown man, conditioned by the summer heat, into a molten mess. Humans and nature are in a delicate dance, shifting equilibrium of body chemistry and balance. Give me the summer heat, a balmy breeze and a few rolling clouds high in the sky. Picture perfect.