It’s hot here in Tennessee. Really hot. Hotter than I remember it having been ever before.
And I live in Africa… without air conditioning.
But it’s not so much the heat that I’ve realized this week I’ve missed all this time. It’s the humidity.
I grew up in South Alabama, where humidity is measured in the number of buckets left on the seat back of the car one is driving to the Wal-Marts.
I remember the first time Christie came to my house in Dothan (she’s from Virginia, where they don’t have hot weather OR humidity, and where everyone uses more than one fork and spoon at dinner — or high tea, whatever they call it). We arrived in Dothan late on a Saturday night and went to worship early the next morning. When we exited the church building that day at 11:00 (in order to beat the Baptists to lunch), she remarked, “Oh, I didn’t even realize it rained this morning while we were inside.”
We turned to her and answered, “It didn’t. This is what we call humidity. And later we’ll introduce you to mosquitoes.”
I’ve been missing humidity, and didn’t even realize it.
I went for my first run in the U.S. on Thursday morning. It was an easy 6 miles, mostly on Wear’s Valley Road in Pigeon Forge,* and I started running before the sun came up. By the end of mile 2, a very familiar thing was happening — though I’d never noticed it before that day. [Can something be both familiar and unnoticed? I suppose so.]
Drops of sweat were forming around my elbow and running down my arm, where they would continue past my hand until finally dropping to the ground from the first knuckle of my little finger. And so, while running in some pretty hot weather, my pinky fingers were actually cold, the wind cutting against them. And they were the only chilly part of my body.
I don’t think I’d ever noticed that before, but I quickly recognized the sensation of cold pinky fingers and remembered that running had felt like that all my life — since high school at least, and until I moved to Africa.
Humidity has welcomed me home. And I’m glad to be here.