The weather this week has been in the low to mid 80's, with occasional brief thunderstorms that are beautiful and interesting. Back in Southern California they've been baking in triple digits for the past week, and my mother's neighborhood had nine hours with no power yesterday. At 87, that makes life rather difficult, not to even have a fan in that kind of heat.
I started thinking about how hard it's always been for me to deal with the heat. I've always loved the cold weather, and never looked forward to summer's heat. I sometimes wonder if that had something to do with my love of school. Summer vacation was hot.
A couple of years ago my husband and I joined my brother Pat and his wife Betty for a trip through Mesa Verde's Anasasi Cliff Dwellings, here in Colorado. It was something I had wanted to do for too many years to count. They are spectacular, but the day we arrived the temperatures were blistering, I have no idea why we didn't think to carry water when we started down that trail, but perhaps the sun had fried our brains. Not one of the four of us took so much as a sip with us.
Now, if you've never been to the cliff dwellings, I'll give you a fair warning. You have to walk way down into the canyon to get to them. Then, of course, unless you plan to die down there, which at one point on that particular day, I thought might be a very good idea, you also have to turn around and walk back up to get out. It's long. It's steep. It was beyond hot, and there was no breeze blowing. To make maters worse, at that point I was still walking with a cane and had a big old brace on my left leg.
We really enjoyed walking along the Cliff Dwellings at the bottom, reading the signs and taking photos, but then, of course, we really did have to get back out of that canyon. Betty and I started up the trail with Pat and John walking behind us. We weren't making very good time. In fact, the pace Betty and I set was very very slow, but the best we could do. I'd like to say we weren't complaining, but we probably were, at least a little. Then suddenly from behind, I felt John place his two palms flat on my back and begin to push me up the hill. Soon Pat was doing the same for Betty.
I looked behind and said to John, "You'll get a big reward in heaven for this, John."
As I faced forward again, I heard my stoic husband say to my brother in a stage whisper, "I was hoping for something a little sooner than that!"