As I write this, Saskatchewan is experiencing a heat wave. Real feel temperatures have reached the 40s. We north-centralese (it's my word, but you can use it) are not accustomed to such numbers unless they are below zero. This is how we differentiate ourselves from others. “Land of the Living Skies and Home of the 40 Below.” No 40 below this month though, this is the month that we really begin the process of Enjoying Summer.
I don’t care what you say. I love the heat. I suppose if we were not at the lake and if we were stuck at home in the basement watching re-runs of Big Brother, I might feel differently. However, we are not and the best part is….I am finally warm! Because I am a scrawny runt, I am always cold. I am always the last one to shed my sweater. I am starting to mortify myself by taking my slippers along when visiting at other people’s homes like my grandparents used to.
“Oh don’t worry, dear, I’ve brought my slippers and my shawl. I don’t like a cold back…"
I would much rather be too warm; I love having feeling in my toes.
Another benefit of the hot weather is that I have finally packed properly for camping! After years of hoping for the best and arriving with four suitcases full of various assorted swimming costumes, we’d inevitably spend most of our days clad in fleece and rubber boots. We’d finally get one glorious day of hot weather and spend it hanging our soggy clothing out to dry. In the morning, we’d emerge from the camper to find it and the whole landscape sodden and dripping once again. We knew it was time to give up and go home when the children began to mold and mildew, the stray dog began to resemble Shrek and I was forced to wear Crocs… I know. I had no choice.
Alas, we are in the wilds of Canada (a Regional Park) and the real dilemma with a heat wave here is this... cover or uncover? There is bliss in Saskatchewan summers, but for every yin there is a yang. Stay covered and you feel as though you will ignite at any moment. Sweaty and irritable, you fan weakly at yourself with your palm as though this will somehow cool you down immeasurably. But uncover and you are forced to waste precious summer moments swatting at mosquitoes and horseflies while attempting to scratch the bites that are already welting up around your ankles. These movements resemble a jerky, un-choreographed summer dance. The Solstice Dance of the northern Prairie Inhabitants.
There is but one alternative, other than to go indoors (which would be counterproductive to Enjoying Summer) and that is to cloak yourself in insect repellent, until your nostrils burn.
“What’s that bewitching scent you’re wearing?”
“It’s the latest from Johnson & Johnson, all the lunatics…er…outdoor enthusiasts are wearing it. It’s called OFF. You can find it at fine sporting goods counters everywhere.”