The body is an amazing mechanism. It regulates heat and cold. It does its best to protect us from harm. Our bodies are our last stand against the weather.
We’ve sustained some tough weather this season and, as the years advance, and weather patterns change, so too, do our bodies respond to the mystical ruminations above us and beneath us.
What amazes me is how much my body resistances and temperature preferences have changed over the years.
I grew up in the Nebraska snow. I walked everywhere. I spent most of my time shoveling six-foot snowdrifts from our angled driveway. I didn’t like the cold, but I could take anything below 32 degrees without blinking an eye. However, I was unable to sustain any temperature over 65 degrees. I would start sweating at 50 degrees. The warmer it grew, the hotter, and more inconsolable, I became — and when it was time to move away for graduate school, I didn’t head toward the California sun like my peers. I instead turned Eastward for the welcoming shadow of the urban cold.
After we moved to the East Coast, and got acclimated, things started to change. The Winter began to bite a bit more. Nose tips, fingertips and ears began to burn with the threat of frostbite on every middling trek outside. Was I losing my cold weather mojo? Or was the world around me changing?
As our time expanded on the East Coast — and we crossed that precious transgression of living more years away from home than we lived at home — the Summers grew more enjoyable. The sun became a transition from pain to feeling alive. The heat emboldened the body instead of cursing it. I stopped sweating in the sun of a party cloudy day.
I am still a bit stunned that I now prefer hot to cold, the punishments of Summer to the nones of my Winter birth — and I begin to wonder if I am starting to show the signs of aging. Am I becoming one of those old people who prefer to live, shivering, in a baking sauna of an apartment while those around them sweat and wear t-shirt and shorts?
I still enjoy the snow — in small amounts, and yes, I do still sweat when the temperature rises above 70 — but the one thing I cannot abide now is the blistering wind. Give me snow, rain, sleet, hail, tornadoes, thunderstorms — but keep the wind below 10MPH, please. The wind sears through me like a branding ember. If the wind is hot, I am cooked. If the wind is cold, I am frozen into brittle. There is no gentle breeze. There is only wind with a malicious purpose.
I’m not sure when the wind become my enemy, but it was this year that I started to check wind speed in addition to the temperature when I planned my days outside. The blistering wind is not a friend of mine, and there are few articles of clothing that protect you from the wants of a wind that has no purpose other than to rip right through the very meter of you while howling away in laughter at the glassiness of your intemperate physiology.