SUMMER ….. for many of my friends summer means beaches, swimming, ice creams and holidays. But for me, I associate summer with something different – flies, heat, mozzies, heat rash, snakes ….. did I mention the heat? And so far this summer there’s been an abundance of all the above!
Fatigued from the heat of the day and the associated sleep disturbance through the night, I struggle to enjoy my mountain bike riding as usual. There’s a narrow time frame to get outside in order to avoid the oppressive heat. Yet even then it seems too hot, there are too many flies and mozzies, I still get heat rash all over (just like a baby, yes, including ….. well ….. including everywhere!) and there is the ever-present foreboding possibility of [GASP] snakes. Not just any snakes though. The snakes round this part of the world (Australia) are the deadliest on the planet, and in my little corner of the globe (Darling Downs, Queensland) they are more likely to be deadly than not!
So many worries, so many stresses, so many obstacles to keeping active in my summer time, so many internal voices directing me away from summer MTB and exercise in general. Too hot to eat. Too hot to sleep. Too hot to play. Too hot to be sociable. Bah humbug!
Sitting down at home after a particularly hot day (it’s still over 30deg C at 7:30pm), I feel the faint breeze starting to work its magic, gently wafting through the windows, sharing its spirit and energy with me, re-energising and refreshing my body, mind and soul.
The sunset painted across the sky in pink and purple and orange reminds me of the varied and colourful world we share with billions of others on this planet, and that I am privileged for having shelter, clothing, food and clean water to drink.
Listening to the kookaburras calling to each other I can only imagine what stories they are sharing about their day. What story might I share from my day? A story of grumpiness and resentment? Or a story of gratitude and celebration of life?
The cicadas amplify their tune as darkness falls and I remember that there is so much more to this world than what I see at first glance and experience directly. Remember the little people, the little creatures, the unseen and unsong heroes, those without a voice in our society.
The stars and the moon come out to play as the evening cools off. Maybe this is my time to play too. How can I use the cool of the day better? And how can I make better make use of my time during the searing heat?
I hear a menagerie of other wildlife settling down for the night, or beginning their nightly rounds. How would it be to organise my life more in tune with the natural systems and patterns of the world around me?
I remind myself I have so much more to learn about life and myself. By tuning into my personal experience of summer, I can find lessons that will teach me patience, tolerance, acceptance and compassion.
I can acknowledge my internal voices that convincingly tell me I ‘should’ be able to control my environment and my reactions better, that I haven’t achieved anything worthwhile today, and that my level of frustration and annoyance reflects the injustice of the summer conditions.
Summer riding (or not riding as the case may be) gives me the opportunity to learn about what matters most, what I can legitimately control and influence, the importance of pacing myself and being in tune with my inner and outer worlds, and learning to choose more wisely which of my inner voices I’ll listen to today.
So tomorrow, with temperatures forecast at 37deg C (again), I choose something different. I choose to stay indoors to do core strength training (something I tend to neglect anyway!) instead of riding outdoors. I’ll have the fans on and a bottle of icy water beside me. No snakes. No mozzies. No flies. And the heat …. well there isn’t much I can do to control the weather, but some of my choices can make that somewhat less of a problem. I choose to be grateful for the choices I DO have, and to make the most of them. BUT ….. I expect that sometimes I’ll need reminding about that again!