Keeping Cool

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner

After long cold prairie winters, the outdoors beckon in the warmth-giving sunshine of spring and summer. A bigger enticement for enjoying the beauty of spring and summer for me includes the added benefits of no icy sidewalks to contend with or snow to shovel out of the way. One of my favourite outdoor places to be during these warmer months is camping at a lake with trees for shade, a beach that invites swimming and wading in the water as well as a place for an evening campfire.

Water offers a refreshing peace, a way to cool off and the lake gives a chance to unplug from my daily routine, cool off from summer’s intense heat and simply stay cool. Being close to the water can be counted as a happy place for me, even if it is only a water feature in someone’s yard or in a park. However, I have few opportunities these days to take a vacation to a cabin at the lake. I get to hang out as a speaker at camps which sometimes is situated on a lake.

Life threw a few curve balls when asthma took up residence in my life. My lungs no longer like or have the ability to handle high heat, especially with the humidity. On those scorching days, I must hide inside with the air conditioner running in order to stay cool and breathe. Breathing is important and I must look after myself. Fans help but not as much as air conditioning.

On those gloriously hot days people long for, I must remain an observer, looking out at everyone else having fun in the sun. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and a pity party threatens to erupt. My emotions go off balance and I need to work on looking for the positives. Gratitude fills my heart when my asthma remains under control and I can breathe freely and easily. Knowing triggers and avoiding them whenever possible enables me to enjoy as much of life as possible and feel productive. That does not mean I never go outside in the summer, because I do. I just need to not extend my stay too long on the hottest, most humid days. The lake is a good place to be, especially with pine trees around to offer shade and cool breezes to waft across the evening air to cool everything and everyone off. Maybe that is why it can be such a peaceful, happy place for me to keep cool and still breathe.

Growing up we often went camping as a family and by the time I was in my teens my mother, brother and I spent all summer at a lake with another mom and her children. The dads showed up every weekend and for a couple weeks of holiday time. Oh, the wonderful memories of those carefree days playing in the water and on the beach, the campfires and long hikes on cooler days.

My husband and I took our children camping at times so they could learn about the restfulness of summertime fun at a lake. My friend and I took our children—eight of them between us—to the lake for a week where we lived in our campers, hung out at the beach and ate food cooked over an open fire. The children ranged in age from two to nine and looking back I wonder if the two of us moms were crazy. The oldest children remember the experience and I loved the relaxation of being at the lake.

For a few years, my husband and I taught in Northern Saskatchewan and lived beside a lake. People would ask if our summer plans included going camping. Why would we go anywhere to camp when we lived the lake lifestyle all year long?

Keeping cool these days means having a home with an air conditioner, hiding inside on the hottest days and dreaming about the times I can splash in the water, hang out at a lake or simply enjoy the refreshing foods of summer like fresh produce, berries and watermelon.

Maybe it’s time to look for a cabin to rent for a short vacation at a lake.

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