Saturday, June 27, 2009

Feet to the Fire

I think I've probably avoided sweating too much in my life. Now that I'm in the desert - which is too hot for many tourists and residents alike this time of year - I'm trying to embrace the heat.

Why else would I go hiking at noon on a triple-digit temperature day?

But the more I sweat, and the more showers I have to take, the more rewarding I'm finding my experiences. I can't hide in an air conditioned car my entire time here. So I sleep with the window open, awakened by the heat that comes with the rising sun, and I throw the blankets off of me, exposing myself to whomever might walk by my room, exposing myself to life.

When I get up in the morning for a hike, my insides are boiling but only my face sweats, running into my eyes, salting my lips. My nose does not run, though I sneeze in the heat. I wipe my forehead with the back of my wrist, and then my wrist on my dry cotton pants. A trickle runs off my chin and onto my light blue shirt, leaving not a drop as it evaporates immediately.

I choose not to wear a sun hat because it makes my brain boil, collecting the sweat inside a smouldering pot on top of my head. I can't wait to get my sneakers off so I can empty them of sand and gravel and peel the sand-stained socks off my feet.

Let the sun beat down on me. Let it turn my hair orange and my scalp pink. Freckles are emerging on my arms, chest and face, indelible to sunblock or sweat or soap. I sink myself into a pool whose water feels like a warm bath, slip my feet into hot potato flip flops, and recline my wet body down under a hot towel in some hot shade.

My soul blisters, its true self bubbling up, shedding just a thin layer of skin when it pops, revealing a new naked soul underneath. I'm scratching at the surface, trying to peel it without injury.