Saturday, August 10, 2013

Heat, I love to hate it...

I mentioned I do not like heat on quite a number of occassions. It has got me thinking; why don't I like heat? Why don't I like summer as much as everyone else? Why do I prefer cooler periods like spring, autumn or even winter?
In order to try and answer these questions I need to analyse my own feelings, both outer and inner. What is it that makes me dislike warmth and makes me prefer coolness.
Maybe I had unpleasant experiences in warm enviroments, seasons or circumstances. Or maybe it is just the opposite. Maybe I like being in the coolness or cold more for some reason and I associate that with pleasant feelings. I know I like wearing long sleeved clothing, pants with long legs. Wool sweaters in particulair!!
Maybe previous experiences make me want to protect my body or myself from external factors. My past certainly could imply that.
But I do believe there's more. If I am to believe many scientists humans have evolved from mediteranian enviroments. According to new theories even from aquatic ones. Hence the lack of bodily hair, except in vulnerable areas, the suggested diet we thrive upon and even the inborn ability for newborns to swim.
On the other hand I also do believe that many of us have lived befor. That's right; reincarnation. That could also explain certain talents, gifts or preferences. Data from a previous life, not completely erased. Might explain my liking of cool climates and the feeling of being at home, here. But I degress.....

In order to explain my discomfort in warm circumstances, like on a hot summers day or even in the sauna, I have to analyse what I feel, first. I feel lazy, heavy and weighted down. I have problems concentrating or being fysically active, which results in loosing interest in things to do. I get a headache quite fast, even when not being dehydrated. I loose appetite and might even get cranky and irritable (not even might. I easily do).... unless I have a few days to aclimatize, needing a period of consistant warm weather to do so.  About 5-6 days would show an large improvement, but the "symptoms" never vanish. They just get less. Funny thing is that my oldest daughter copes just as well as I do. Recent experiences confirm that. Actually many of these "symptoms" are quite similar to having a cold or feeling sick or feeverish. This is what I feel fysically, but that doesn't mean they're not mentally either.
Then there are the external factors too. Of course there are the bugs. I have a particulair dislike for wasps, based on previous experiences and for ticks, which I can not explain. Maybe I conditioned myself into that... There's nettles too and I noticed that I react quite strongly to their sting, meaning the place of contact, usually the hands and fingers tingle painfully for hours after. Waspstings tend to create a lot of pain too, without an allergic reaction. I just have a very sensitive disposition.
I also do not like bright, sunny days. The light actually hurts my eyes and even my skin, yet it does tan quite fast and deep. The sun has a different colour during summer and it burns, literally.... Even after a period of getting used to the heat I tend to stay in shady areas.
All this means I feel quite limited during this season (and thus get frustrated easily). All enjoyable feelings I relate to summer include lowlevel energetic activities, like lounging around, reading, barbequeing, drinking cold beverages, preferably during summernights or in shady areas. A walk in the woods can be not all the enjoyable, when the heat presses down on you, even between the trees. So I tend to shift being active in the early morning or in the evening.... Luckily the humidity here is a lot less then in Holland. That combination is an absolute killer to me.

Now why do I like colder or cooler circumstances?
I can wear long sleeves or pants, withour feeling hot. But even without I am not severely affected by cold. I can be out in short sleevs, when everyone around me is wearing a thick coat. I usually feel comfortable temperaturewise, when most sit around, with chattering teeth. Again my oldest daughter has the same, even surpasses me!
But I do feel very comfortable in wool sweaters or pants and as soon as it is acceptable I wear them. I like the feeling on my skin. I feel warm and secure. Even in the summer I sleep under a thin woolen blanket. But even without the wool I used to wear nothing but longlegged pants for many years. It is only since a few years that I wear shorts again....
sorry.....
couldn't resist...
So appearantly there is the need for protection. Some who know me might argue that's due to my past..... On the other hand I see this in my son and my youngest daughter too. They too love wool sweaters and will wear them as soon as it is acceptable.
But the cold also has a huge impact on me, my behaviour and my wellbeing. I feel an almost childish extasy, looking at the coloured leaves in autumn, but most of all the first snowfall of the season! Sparks an almost frantic energysurge, as I really want to go out and roll around, toss and play with either leaves or snow.
The first nightfrosts induce a state of feeling high, when I come out in the morning and take deep breaths of air, even when I shiver or feel cold. It refreshes the mind, body and soul in an unexplainable way in sharp contrast to the feeling of hybernation that does occur later in winter, when lack of natural light starts to take effect. But in the hours of daylight I tend to be awake, fresh and energetic.
Of course I curse the strong northern wind at -20, which chills you to the bone, no matter what you wear and of course I eagerly await and greet the first warming rays of sun in late winter or early spring, but looking at it all I have to say that there are far more positive feelings about coolness than about warmth or at least the first outweigh the last. Experiences do colour our perception. That is a fact.

But it goes further than that.
The boreal area has a high ranking on my prefered landscapes, where as jungles do not. I like looking at images from Alaska, Canada and the northeastern states of the US, but much less images from Florida, Arizona or central America. Mountanous terrain captures my interest much easier than tropical islands. I'd pick a bear, wolf or moose over a lion, elephant or monkey anytime.
It has always been this way, even from my earliest bookholding or tv-watchingdays.

The only factor that works just the other way around is rain.
I welcome it in summer, but dispise it in colder weather. The reason is simple. In summer it refreshes, where as in colder weather it creates pain and discomfort. I can dance in a downpour after a hot and sunny day, but mope around miserably on a dark and wet novemberday...

So... are these conditions selfinduced and conditioned or is there a deeper reason for this?
All of the above, I guess. One influences the other, emphasises it, but I do think that the basis for it lies deep within. A deep connection with a certain condition, climate or area, which influences all of the above. But where does that deeper connection come from? Is it congenital? Is it behaviour, imprinted in to us by early experiences? A mixture of both? Or is there even that other factor; inheritence?
All I know is that people have often very different preferences and feel very strongly about them. Most people I know prefer it just the other way around and take me for a madman. And I have trouble imagining their love of the heat and the sun.

What has all this to do with the outdoors?
Simple; it profoundly affects me and therefor my ability to act, react and interact with my surroundings.
Understanding myself is vital to that ability, because I can take it into account and act accordingly.
And putting it down in writing makes it visual to me, making it possible to order my thoughts and feelings and to make it clear to myself and possibly other as well. It also helps to keep things in perspective, to not overmagnify the one over the other.
It is an all important lesson to me.

1 comment:

  1. We have a lot in common here, Ron. I also feel much more comfortable in cool/cold weather. I think I have a "cold-weather body". Strangely, I'm also much less interested in jungles, deserts etc. in comparison to the boreal areas.

    weekendwoodsman

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