And then, there’s cold.
I do well with one kind, terrible with another. On our trip down to Maine for a four-day vacation, my wife and I couldn’t agree on the car’s air conditioning settings. I was feeling rather non-assertive and let her have her way with the AC and soon found that some of my limbs were quite cold.
But with the sun’s rays landing full on Naomi’s thighs, she was uncomfortable with the heat and I didn’t want to be a spoil-sport, so I gave in.
My body is notoriously sensitive at times to cool drafts, especially when my circulation’s not strong. Sitting immobile for a five-hour drive will do that for me. I also hate sitting in too-cold air conditioned restaurants unless fully clothed from head to toe. I usually feel quite unwell later, either sleepy or in a rough mood.
As it turned out, I felt awful once we arrived at our destination, the village of Ogunquit, in southern Maine.
I had an itchy feeling in my nose and throat. Two days later, I had a full-blown head cold.
On another level, I do quite well with cold.
I like cold showers, for example. There’s nothing like the energizing feeling one has following a cold shower. Paradoxically, you feel warmer when you get out of one than after a hot shower. Yes, it can hurt at first but hang in there and a not-so-subtle sensation takes over your whole body, a nice glow that comes from blood flowing forcefully through your inner organs, leaving you warm and invigorated.
At the beach, the ocean, even after a long summer, is still pretty cold. The first time I went in, the day after we arrived, I could no longer feel my thighs as I waded deeper and deeper, yet I found that I couldn’t leave. Part of me said, “Get outta here!” while another said, “I can’t!”
Before too long I was body surfing on the incoming waves, doing my best not to swallow any water. It’s fun when you catch a wave with your body and, taken correctly, a wave can bring you all the way into shore, to the point where you can feel the sandy bottom on your belly. You just have to push off at the right moment, just before the wave curls.
The next day, on another beach where there was no surf to speak of, I swam back and forth in the shallow water, first front crawl, then changing to breast stroke. The water wasn’t as cold at Goose Rocks Beach, just north of Kennebunk Port, as at Ogunquit Beach, but as I looked out I still saw no one in the water, well one woman, okay, standing up to her waist. At Ogunquit Beach, with hundreds parked on the sand, there were never more than half a dozen brave souls in the water.
So, there you go. I’m good in the cold when the circulation’s flowing, and terrible in the cold when my circulation’s stagnant.
Having found the beach of my dreams (Goose Rocks Beach was virtually empty before noon and the water and sand seemed pure and untainted) I started thinking of extending the vacation. I’m known as the “beach person” in the family but as it turns out, Naomi loves the beach; it’s just that she’s fussier. You have to find the right one, a place that combines simplicity with purity of Nature, of sand and surf. The process of swimming and getting exercise, along with the warmth and healing rays of the sun on one’s shoulders, generates lots of physical and mental bliss.
And that’s what vacations are for, no?