As I wrote at the time:

It’s the third straight day of temperatures above ninety, with humidity to match. Still, we’ve avoided a miserable July this year, and the heat has not locked itself into the house: we’ve been able to cool everything overnight. What strikes me is that we’re no longer floored by the oppression. We simply move slower, more deliberately. Avoid using the oven. (We’ll grill outdoors this afternoon.)

In other words, we’ve adjusted ourselves to seasonal change.

Come winter, we’ll have to brace ourselves all over again for biting cold. What will be bitter in November or December will instead feel balmy come February or March.

At the office, I know that any sharp change in the weather brings an increase in obituaries. We can joke about the shift that sends those who are barely hanging on over the edge, but the numbers support us. People in climate-controlled chambers all the same responding to minor shifts in barometric temperature or dew points, all the same. Do we inhale and exhale something other than air?

Spaces I’ve entered where silent prayer or meditation are already under way all felt set apart from their surroundings. I’ve sometimes described it as diving into water and swimming beneath the surface or like entering a pressurized rare-book library.

Returning to the ashram and its grounds after being away presented a similar sensation, as have old Quaker meetinghouses, even years after their regular use.

Live within that energy, and you no longer notice it – it’s simply the way life is. Leave it, though, and you can feel you are falling through space, for weeks on end.


For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.



  1. I am grateful to have moved from the Northeast to the Northwest if for the sole reason that heat and humidity just wipes me out (throw in allergies and I’m laid out). I understand why those who live in the south move more “deliberately” than in other places. My ancestors are from Scandinavia and North Sea, so that would make sense, and why i don’t mind too much bitter winters (or perpetual gray skies like we have here in the NW).

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