This heat! This is the heat I remember from my first trip to Nicaragua two years ago. The kind of heat that knocks you on your ass and makes you want to hide or sleep till sunset! The kind that makes walking three blocks an exercise in moisture containment (bring a do-rag!) and the exhaustion equivalent of running a marathon on a temperate day (unless that’s something you do regularly). The kind of heat that causes you to lose your appetite for anything other than items that are cold and wet (ice-water, frosty bottles of beer, iced wine, smoothies, ice-cream). The kind of heat that keeps you within inches of the nearest fan, or breaking your vow to never use the A/C, should you be fortunate and/or wealthy enough to have it. This is the kind of heat that makes me wonder “what I was thinking, planning to retire in Nicaragua?!”
This is the heat that made me determine, two years ago, that there is one thing here on which I will not compromise—wherever I wind up living must have a container of water large enough in which to immerse my body, preferably with a shelf or something to hold the frosty Toñas! (Note to self: buy beer mugs with the gel in the lining that you keep in the freezer!) That dipping pool can make the difference between a social afternoon with friends, sipping beer and enjoying conversation, and lying motionless, possibly sleeping, close to a fan, waiting till the heat eases off (if it does!) before doing anything at all. When your mortality is staring you in the face, the last thing you may want to do is sleep through your remaining months/years! I’m a firm believer in retiring before you’re too old to enjoy it, and while the occasional nap is fine with me, spending an entire season sleeping through hot, humid afternoons just doesn’t qualify as enjoyment.
Postscript: Literally, as I wrote the second sentence of this piece, the dog began barking furiously and there was a god-awful ruckus outside my room. I leapt off the bed and came bursting out the door so fast I got dizzy and almost fell, but the ruckus was rain! Buckets of it, falling into the open garden area, accompanied by thunder (and probably lightning—I couldn’t see enough sky to be sure). No wonder today’s heat had been so oppressive. Sadly, it didn’t last all that long, but afterward, the breezes smelled fresh and clean and the headachy-ness of the afternoon heat was gone!
When I used to read about people in India dancing in the rain at the beginning of monsoon season I couldn’t imagine it: for me, rain was cold and damp and something to be avoided with umbrellas, raincoats and “wellies” (Wellington rubber boots), not celebrated. Now I get it! Now, sitting in the hammock chair, swinging gently in the breeze, I wish the rain had lasted long enough for me to don a swimsuit and dance in it!