I marched to the garden. In actuality, I wanted to run but Rusty said, “That’s just stupid.” I knew it was. I didn’t say, “Because it’s the intelligent thing to do, I want to go for a run.” I just wanted to run. I like to run. I download some reggae, specifically Third World’s 96 Degrees in the Shade. Ninety-six degrees would feel like air conditioning. I’d knock off a few miles and come back. Since I couldn’t run, I went to plan B. Zen. Garden.
I weeded, picked, and before long, was in the zone. Deep in thought. Focused on the two butterflies that were flitting around the corn and beans. Thinking deeply. Sweating. Seeing colors. Dripping. Pondering. Feeling a peaceful lull. Seeing God.
“Do you know it’s a million degrees out here?” he asked.
“Yeah, but it feels kind of nice.” I drip out the last remaining molecule of water in my body onto a vegetable that shriveled ten degrees ago.
“Thanks,” he said, “I’ve been working hard on global warming,” he said. “You only feel peaceful because you’re pretty close to dead. Go inside. Rehydrate. Stop being a moron.” God echoes when he speaks.
I usually listen to God. His voice kept coming from the cabbage worm. Next, it projected itself into the beanpole. I think he might have been right. Time to go inside.
God might have been instructing me directly, or it’s possible he’s one of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. In either case, who am I to argue? A pleasant god-like delirium that makes me physically feel each thought pausing in my brain. “Woah…” I caught myself thinking. “That’s deep.” In retrospect, it was about as deep as the puddle of heat-induced dehydration allows, but for a moment, time stood still.
Finally, I could ignore it no longer. Unsafe. A/C, you win.
I had to. I was compelled. I could put it off no more. I ran early. 9AM. I would have run really early, when it was actually safe and cool, but I was busy pondering another deep thought not induced by delirium, and finishing up some writing. So, at 9AM with a heat index of one hundred and two, I stepped out into the furnace.
Water. Check. Workout music. Check. Hat. Check. Run.
Down the road, around the corner. Up past the farm, into the great beyond. To the top of the hill. Baking in the sun. After a few miles, I grew cold. No wind, no shade, smack dab on the top of the hill in front of the farm where the “Fresh Eggs” sign will actually have fresh eggs tomorrow morning–chickens work on Sundays. And that’s when…God returned. I saw each little leaf on the tree in full detail, though I’m usually blind as a bat. Each flower came into sharp focus with colors that I’ve never imagined. The chickens looked like they had something to say–probably “Look, $%^&*, stop buying so many eggs on Sundays! We’re %#^$^ tired!”
Time, again, stood still. Drip, drip, drip. Sweat. I only ran 4 miles… Breathe, drink, drip. Should I knock out one more mile? I’m not very good at moderation on a good day. This was not a good day. Recognizing the signs of impending heat exhaustion, and probable death…Life insurance’s paid up and stupidity isn’t an exclusion…I hesitated. Instead of talking to God and the chickens, I went home.
Common sense has never been my strong suit. Ask anyone. They’ll agree. But when I hear the voice of God discussing crock pot recipes with the angels I can make an exception. I don’t want to ruin my reputation and turn all efficient or serious, but once in a while, it’s okay.
The problem is, it’s summer… I’ve been waiting for this time for months, and this year, I’ve really needed the rejuvenation. Come hell or high water, I’m going to get a ton of activity squeezed into this short respite. So, while this week might be the temperature of Dante’s Tenth Circle, and last week we needed an ark, nothing will stop me. Except my own stupidity, I’m afraid.
That’s usually the thing that stops us all, isn’t it?
[images: top: CDC.gov, bottom, the farm I ran by before God appeared]