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Growing Pains: It's heat-time

Elizabeth Kukla

Elizabeth Kukla

Albert Einstein suggested that space and time are interwoven and change to maintain the constant speed of light, slowing or speeding time as needed. It’s a truly fascinating theory called Space-Time.

At home in New Orleans, the heat and humidity slow time down during the summer months, interwoven in what we could rightly call “Heat-Time.”

Virginia has had an unusually rainy summer thus far, one that I have throughly enjoyed while taking summer classes during June and July. It has also made me homesick. People here are still hurrying places, checking their watches, crunching things into schedules.

Seriously? It’s July. Calm down. Slow down.

On our run today, a friend was complaining about the humidity while I was simultaneously getting excited about the streams bursting at the seams and the moisture in the air so thick you could quite literally see mist.

At home, I would have totally jumped on the complain train with him. Getting out of the shower and needing triple the time to dry off gets old. But there is something cathartic about the tropical cycle of afternoon showers each day, and the way our hot, humid home forces us to slow down a little bit. That is something I really miss (despite how much I may whine while stuck in it).

Today was a NOLA-humid day in Charlottesville, and instead of whining about it, I reveled in it.

We finished our warm-up, by then completely drenched in moisture, and began to stretch. My friend started talking paces, and how fast we needed to run this workout.

Fast? He’s from Pennsylvania, so I filled him in on the little secret we all know from summers in our hot, humid home. Fast ceases to exist, as heat and humidity rise; time slows. Worrying about mile splits and crunching numbers for a run? Please, ain’t nobody got time for that; it’s almost August. In the summer you run by feel; you run in the moment.

Given all the fussing, I would undoubtedly be doing about the weather if I were home, it’s funny to me that that’s one of the things I miss most about summer in NOLA. The smell of rain as afternoon showers move in on a sweltering day. The vibrant life the rain brings with it, as well as a momentary respite from relentless heat. Mainly, the way time becomes irrelevant as hours and days melt together under the sun.

The heat and humidity have a way of putting us more in the moment, making us invest ourselves in the present. It’s too hot to worry about rushing anywhere, so we don’t worry. Instead, we partake whole-heartedly in the present.

Which, in a world ridden with scheduling, stressing, and rushing, is something I find pretty special.

Native New Orleanian Elizabeth Kukla is a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She writes about being a NOLA girl from afar in “Growing Pains,” a weekly column at NolaVie.