Thursday, September 10, 2015

Conquering Summer Affective Disorder

{At the Brian Head cabin over fourth of July weekend. The weather was stormy and glorious.}

Other than my three and a half winters in Provo, UT during university, I haven't lived in a place with "cold." And other than my two winters in Portland, OR, I haven't lived in a place with "wet." But after my ten summers in St. George, UT, five summers in San Antonio, and three summers in Las Vegas, I've had some experience with "hot." And believe me when I say that heat can cramp your style every bit as much as cold can. 

{Kate and Grandpa pulling stickery weeds}

Every year, around mid-May, little tentacles of anxiety and depression slink out of the crate they've been hibernating in since the previous September. They reek of mothballs and get agitated when the temperature climbs. Summer brings soaring electricity bills, blazing sunshine, and heat that radiates off the concrete even at midnight. The children's car seats get hot enough to burn, and I avoid the oven like the furnace that it is. 

One year in Texas, I got so homesick for fall and cooler temperatures that I wept. Summer in San Antonio was hot and sticky, the air so thick I choked when I breathed. I loved Texas, but I felt claustrophobic sometimes. There was nowhere to go to escape the summer temperatures, no mountains to drive to that offered relief. In fact, summer exacerbated the Texas claustrophobia that always lurked just beneath my contentment: we couldn't get a break from Texas, even if we wanted to. We lived six hours or more from even the borders of neighboring states. I felt like Texas had swallowed me whole, and I didn't much like being digested. 

But then we moved to Las Vegas, where the sun bakes the acres of asphalt and kills all but the ugliest of plants. I still don't think it's pretty here, and maybe I never will, but there is beauty in the lives we live, regardless of where we are. And Las Vegas, for all its faults, has proximity to mountains, my parents, and my parents' mountain cabins. 

So, despite the staggering three-digit temperatures, Las Vegas summers have been bearable (if not always enjoyable). A quick weekend to the mountains, where the flora is green and the temperatures are 30-40 degrees lower, breaks up the cumulative despair of the scorch of summer.

Even without our frequent summer trips, though, this summer has felt mild. May was positively beautiful and even brought chilly mornings. June and July were hot, but the sunny days were peppered with an abnormally high number of desert thunderstorms. August has roasted us, but the knowledge that summer only loses steam from this point on has always made me patient in my wait for late September. 

I think the secret to endurance is taking a break. I'm well aware of the irony in that statement, but it's true. Fleeing to the mountains once or twice a month keeps my self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder at bay until the joy of crisp fall hammers the last few nails into my cratefuls of heat anxiety.

It's been a beautiful summer.

1 comment:

  1. Anytime you are feeling too hot you can come visit us (wherever we are)! We will crank the AC and eat Keeblers and hot chocolate and I might even make some apple cider doughnuts...just because they taste like fall! I sure miss you Lindsay! I hope you're feeling happier soon! PS your kids are so adorable!! PS again--this is actually Shannon, not Christian, but he misses you guys, too :)