I am writing this on what I’m hoping will be the hottest day of the year. It seems wasteful to actually try to fry an egg on the sidewalk, but I bet I could.
A sensible person would just stay inside, but alas, my constant Battle of the Pudge (gotta fit into my jeans) overrides this directive, and I head outside to take a walk. It’s still early, and even though the temperature has not yet reached broiler status, the asphalt is radiating heat. Rather than retreating, I pick up my pace. The park is in sight.
I love our neighborhood park. It’s a quarter mile loop that winds through alternating pockets of sun and shade.
I think I have sung the praises of shade in the past, but in this heat, it bears repeating. Even today, as the sun beats down relentlessly, shade provides little patches of “Ahhhh.” The temperature under its influence is a good 10 degrees cooler, making the walk doable even on this hottest day of the year.
The trek from my house to the park is a half-mile of full sun, but with each sweat-drenched step, I remind myself that good health is a battle fought on multiple fronts and the sun is at least infusing my body with much-needed vitamin D. I say this, but when I round the curve and see the park, I am not sorry that the hot part is over.
When my sneakers hit the park proper, I begin my series of laps, a number that is determined by a) the rest of my daily schedule, and b) how many carbs I had for breakfast. Round and round, I pass through a large variety of trees and a small creek where I once saw a large snake that I try not to think about.
I have learned that, along the way, I must stop for another one of nature’s great ideas: water. I may not feel thirsty quite yet, but apparently, the goal is to keep ahead of that. While I am grateful for the water, I will be even more grateful for the vat of iced tea I will procure at the drive-thru once my trek is finished. I will order the biggest glass they have with three pumps of classic syrup and ask them to hold the added water, which seems counterproductive for my hydration plan, but I substitute lots of ice, which is simply water that has had a nice long rest in the freezer.
When I really start jones-ing for the drive-thru, I take a deep breath and go forth onto the scorching asphalt to do the half-mile home.
Reaching my house, I fish my key out of my pocket, open the door and step into the air conditioning. (Isn’t that the best thing ever?). It takes a minute for my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light, but when they do, I look down to see my dog Dave wagging his tail in full body anticipation. Now, it’s his turn to go to the park.
Dave is not a delicate flower, but he has no shoes and, like I said, the asphalt is ablaze, so this time, we will drive and walk only far enough for Dave to scatter the squirrels and do a smell-check for dogs he has missed in passing.
If I take Dave through the drive-thru, the baristas give him a whipped cream puppucino, and he is the happiest dog in America. What could be better than that? We both have it made in the shade.