There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to go into a summertime hibernation. Inevitably sometime in mid-July as the heat and humidity steadily creep up my ambition and productivity level creep down. Mostly, I just want to sleep. Some summers are worse than others, but I’ve noticed over the past week or so the phenomenon setting in. To compound the problem, I still see and feel the pressure of everything that needs to be done in the looming end of summer break and the return to the classroom and shorter days. Ultimately it can feel like an onset of something resembling depression.
And it probably is. I’m a cool weather guy. All my ancestors (that I know of) trace back to northern and cooler European climates. Give me a frigid temps and I’ll work all day long. Get much over 90 and things start to crumble. Get close to 100 with high humidity this grizzly starts looking for a cave.
There are only two ways for me to deal with it. Just go with it and be lazy, which I wish I could do. Or just suck it up, and deal with it. I know I won’t get as much done and I know there’s a chance I’ll be grumpy, but at the end of the day something got accomplished that needed to be accomplished. Mainly I try to focus on the stuff that has to be done and then take a few hours off in the hottest part of the day. Right now I’m taking a break from milling up logs that have been sitting as long as I can let them sit if I’m going to be able to use them. It’s hot and I’m not really having a good time, but it needs to be done.
Which brings me to something everyone needs to consider when undertaking a big project like this. Almost without exception when I see videos and magazines covering homesteading, they always show pretty flowers, smiling animals, happy people, and seemingly perfect conditions. And people who have no experience with rural life or working outdoors can get led into the trap that those images are exactly what it’s like.
It is. Sometimes. But many times it’s not. The weather isn’t always your buddy. Sometimes the conditions aren’t perfect. Sometimes the animals are sick. Sometimes they die. Sometimes things work perfectly. Sometimes they break. Sometimes it’s expensive to get them fixed. Sometimes when things go wrong, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. Sometimes it’s entirely your fault.
But the thing we have to consider and that our current society constantly urges us to avoid, is to disregard how you feel about it.
Let me put it this way, Mother Nature couldn’t begin to care less about how you feel about the weather. The task that needs to be done couldn’t care less that you don’t want to do it.
If the thing is going to get done, you have to set aside any negative feelings you have about it and do it.
As I write these words, I’m soaked with sweat and filthy from sawmilling. It’s only 90 degrees, but the humidity and non-existent breeze make the outside air feel closer to 100. I’m also thanking the God of all creation for the window unit air conditioner to my immediate left that is blowing ice cold air on my sweat soaked shirt. It makes me a kinder human.
As much as I’d like to stay here, I can’t. There are responsibilities that need my attention. Some can wait. Some can’t.
Generally about an hour or two before sunset, the air cools considerably and the humidity is brought under control with the onset of an evening breeze. For me this is the best time of the day. Sometimes I use it to get caught up. Sometimes I sit in a lawn chair with a cold drink and watch the sun go down.
And knowing you’ve earned your exhaustion and being in a place of beauty that you’ve helped shape. And being surrounded by the people you care about. That is something you can feel good about.
In the meantime… live well… laugh often… love always.