When I’m at my best, I can find a temporary Zen state and summon something akin to gratitude. I remind myself I am simply experiencing the intense phenomenon of perspiration flowing liberally from every pore while the sun ostentatiously displays its immense life-giving power. All experiences are a blessing of sorts given the simple miracle of existence, right? I can hold that thought sometimes. In my darker and more frequent moments, however, I feel more like a petulant child, wholly indignant and downright angry to suffer the fear that I might burst into a lethal cloud of body-odor-fueled, combustible sweat-vapor should I step outside the shade for more than five minutes. Some days it seems plausible that one could simply release his weight into the buoyancy of swamp-like air and swim an uncomfortable backstroke across a parking lot or open field.
As a result of this bratty distaste for summer’s apex, my motivation for hiking, camping, and backpacking hits an annual low during August. I find myself yearning for “the future” (i.e. the glorious, cool, and beautiful Fall months) and not enjoying the present that surrounds me. Ironically, it is precisely this yearning to appreciate the beauty and gift of every moment that inspires me to get outdoors and immersed in nature. Exactly when I most need to manifest such an attitude is when I am least likely to seek out the endeavors most likely to inspire it. To hell with you August, you cruel but necessary devil.