Siestas Considered | Ann Whittaker

Desert Paradox:  hot days, cool nights .... and sleepy road warriors

 Road Warrior:  Jennifer Pritchard 

Road Warrior:  Jennifer Pritchard 

I have no idea when my meltdowns began–I don’t remember having them as a kid. These are adult meltdowns for sure. I’m pretty sure I pout and stamp my foot just thinking about it: heat. When spring equinox comes, I can barely enjoy a season of new life because I know that relentless, scorching, oppressive heat is coming for me. I just think about the heat and I want to cry. My skin crawls and I want to take a nap. Immediately. 

So why do I love the desert so much? Because it gets hot. Really hot. And I hate the heat. 

I had a meltdown in the Eastern Sierra while Jennifer was driving our “silver bullet” rental car through 100º+ weather in July. Can you believe we ever (ever!) considered driving through Death Valley on our road trip through high desert mountains? My Death Valley meltdown would have been borderline blackout. But, lucky me, this meltdown in the Eastern Sierra was relatively mild and resulted in an unintentional nap in the car–which I never did live down. 

I’m fiery. I have red in my hair, fair and pink pink skin, and I love to be on the move. I am fire. So what happens when you put fire within a fire? Fire wants to take a nap. I used to think the heat was extinguishing my flame, but now I realize the heat demands that I embody its polar opposite (pun absolutely intended): cool, cold, and calm. I couldn’t force my inner fire to spark even if I wanted to during the hottest months of the desert–and I’ve tried. 

But involuntary siestas always win. When it’s hot, my body demands I slow down. When it’s hot, my body counters its environment to regulate itself. Perhaps if I just take my ego out of it, I might actually enjoy summer and allow the sun to create heat for me instead of always relying on myself (you know, put aside my “I can do it myself” attitude). 

I’ll always prefer the cool nights of the desert, but, perhaps, I’ll enjoy the days a bit more if I embrace my body’s natural tendency to slow down and get some shut eye.

Ann Whittaker