Humidity: Life in The Shire
People complain about this weather because they feel it is uncomfortable. Yup, sure is. So why is being uncomfortable bad if you are a healthy, young, human animal? Why do we think constant comfort is normal? Or good? I know a lot of people who are never sweating, never heaving, never working their bodies and they are killing themselves doing it. I may be a sweaty mess of gasping effort, but you can see the white of my eyes and I am getting into the best shape of my life.
To me, humidity is the reason I am comfortable. Sweat and heat, those are not things to avoid. Those are the things that make my body hum. They're also the things that make my farm, hell, my region of the country, hum. Last night I sat outside in a hammock in the dark, watching thousands of fireflies light up my farm while thunder rumbled in the distance and lightning danced. The storm was far off. If I was in danger, I didn't care and wasn't moving from under the giant broad-leafed king Sugar Maple. I was barefoot, and below my swinging feet was a lawn of soft grass and clover. My arms were feeling long and strong. They were deep brown in their summer tan, and wet with sweat (the default condition this summer). Bits of hay and chaff covered them like sparkles, sticking to my skin like so many set jewels. I felt beautiful. I felt lush, and heaving and alive out there swaying above the world. I felt young, full of possibilities, and I could not stop smiling. I was drunk on this free summer, where a Monday night means nothing different than a Friday night.
All around me the fireflies waltzed, the thunder purred, and the sky shot full of light. I was so tired from a day of shooting, riding, writing, and running and this resting pose felt decadent. Even though the world was hot, I knew what it felt like to be dripping sweat and gasping for breath earlier, running up my mountain to drop pounds and remove toxins from my body. In comparison this humid night was a cool breeze blowing through a sauna. It was heavenly.
Humidity is my best friend. It means I live in a place where water is so abundant that it thrives in the very air, in the mud under my feet, in the flashing sky. My friend Othniel says we live in a deciduous rain forest and he is right. The Northeast is so lush, so alive, that you can put a rock out on your front lawn in the shade and it will grow moss. Life is always finding a way here. And the best part of course, Autumn. When all this life explodes into one last party of color before sleep. When nights wrap you up in heavy hooded sweatshirts and your favorite pair of jeans at bonfires and Halloween cornfields. It's the payoff in relief and respite a summer of life offers. Celebration an entire season that ends with that first pristine snowfall. A howl and a prayer.
I lived out west for a while and while I appreciated its particular kind of beauty, but it wasn't correct to me. I didn't realize that until I moved back to New England and saw a spring explode the forests and hillsides in non-stop green. It was shocking, almost a fantasy. I remember just staring at a May forest totally shocked. It was the most life I had seen in a year. Holy cow, it was a festival of lushness, almost pornographic. Not just trees, but thousands of leafy, bustling story tops where pines were the rarity. Growth below in vines, mosses, bushes, flowers, ferns. Everywhere sunlight touched there was clover or grass. Here was the Shire, not the Misty Mountains.
I belong in the Shire.