Saturday, July 7, 2012
Hot and Cold
In the winter...it's pretty much the same, isn't it? Cold, cold, cold. Ice storms, blizzards, huge piles of snow and we're all posting temps--how low can you go?
Back in the dark ages when I was a youngster, air conditioning was a fantasy. In the desert southwest where I lived, a few people had water coolers that added cool humidity to the air in their homes. Most folks didn't. Some had fans. But folks had other ways to cope. Shade trees. Wide porches. Big windows that were open to catch the occasional breeze.
In the afternoons, things slowed down. People wore sun hats. And long sleeved shirts in thin fabrics to ward off the sun.
Hydration was a given. Tea, lemonade, water. Everyone had something to drink. And coffee was for breakfast.
Folks ate differently in the summer. Meals were mostly light. Even men and women who labored in the heat knew enough to eat lightly--and more often. Summer salads, pasta salads, cucumber and tomato sandwiches, watermelon and cantaloupe were summer favorites.
When winter rolled around, those meals reflected the need for extra heartiness to fight the cold. Stews, oatmeal, and hot chocolate made their appearance. Baked goods like apple compote and pumpkin pies filled the air with the enticing scent of cinnamon.
People dressed for the season. Heavy socks and boots, long-johns, sweaters and wool pants were hauled out of storage boxes. Extra blankets were added to the beds and heavy curtains were hung to block drafts. Folks wore warm hats and gloves and scarves. You rarely saw anyone bareheaded.
It seems to me we've forgotten how to live with the weather. We expect the weather to fit into our lives, meet our needs, but that isn't the way it is. Every time we are forced to deal with conditions that don't fit in our lifestyles, we fail to adapt. We fail.
We expect life--including the weather--to adapt to our way of living. And when it doesn't, there's nothing but complaints. Too much rain. Not enough rain. Too much heat. Too much cold. Too much wind.
As many folks are finding, it doesn't take much to shove us back to the pioneering age. Long term power and water outages were common this past week. We need to learn how to cope. We need to remember and plan to deal with the weather on nature's terms instead of our own.
I have a notion it's going to be a choice of adapt or die.