The Heat Is On*

In a few hours, it will be 95 degrees. I dare not doubt the weatherman’s forecast, as I just left the pre-noon outdoors, and it was already volcano-lava-hot. Any exercise must be done in the wee small hours these days.

Despite getting only three hours of sleep last night, and despite the forecast of a Martha Reeve’s heatwave, I donned my jogging apparel, headed to the local soccer park, and began climbing the hills around the perimeter.

Perhaps the path was once grassy, but now it is a knobby rubble of limestone, ripe for ankle injuries and displaced hips. Save a lone runner wearing what appeared to be a long-sleeved shirt made of shimmery black Glad trash bags ( a self-sauna?), I had the path to myself.

As I ascended, I passed evening primroses, Indian paintbrushes, and daisies, bending into candy cane shapes in the 20+ mph winds. I cinched my ballcap tighter, to the point where I almost felt I was being birthed again. Small white butterflies suddenly appeared, staying two steps ahead of me, swerving about like hybrid cars steered by texting teenagers. There must have been a half dozen of them, apparently delighted by spring. So, too, was I, inhaling the syrupy scent of wafting chinaberry blossoms. I love me some chinaberry trees!

Nearby excavators kicked up limestone dust, as they prepared yet another new subdivision, rising like weeds around here. I turned away, shielding my eyes from the dust, avoiding a head-on collision with a shrubby mesquite tree, and noticing my butterfly friends had departed.

The ridge was steep, and my quads ached, but I thought of our friends at church who do marathons in wheelchairs, and, of course, I always think of Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker who has no limbs. It hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the beach with his wife and son.

When I got to the top, I took in the sight of rooftops stretching to the horizon. There I was, queen of all I surveyed, lording over the peasant village. It felt good, being so high above other things, looking down on the soccer fields, the tennis courts, the swimming pool (getting freshly-chlorinated), and the parking lots. Perspective changes everything.

I jogged my hour, and that was enough. I didn’t want to. But I was glad I did. Did it burn off the calories I ate in a handful of raw pistachios this morning? Probably not. But sometimes Nike is right. Just do it.



* not to be confused with another cattier post, The Heat Is Not On, Glenn Frey

20 thoughts on “The Heat Is On*”

    1. Don’t think I didn’t think of that song (as well as Eye del Tigre). Of course, I didn’t have a hoodie on. Hearing it now, it sounds like the orchestra at the Academy Awards.


  1. Running is good for a body. Especially when you do it when no one is chasing you. You are so right about perspective. Be appreciative for all your blessings. Years ago I read in a copy of Runner’s World magazine that if you drank a cup of strong, day old black coffee prior to running it would cause your body to more efficiently use stored up fat for energy. I’m not sure it worked but I sure felt good.


    1. I’ve read several things lately that say running is bad, hard on your joints and your skin and posture, and that walking is always better. But I get so bored walking! I should try that old black coffee. Except a drink my pot each day.


      1. I hear you. Back in the day I used to put down 2 pots daily. That probably explains a lot. I forgot to add my agreement with your choice of descriptors for Al. He is most definitely a douche.


  2. she can run AND she can write 🙂 Kerbey, you are woman of multiple talents. Seriously, this is a lovely post to read. Your turns of phrases are positively lyrical, but not in a showy “look at me turn phrases” kind of way. Easy to read and also an excellent message. So true. Glad you got out for some exercise. I’d be in a loony-bin without workouts–only time of day I get some say. But sorry on the few hours of sleep. Isn’t exercise supposed to help with that? I remember that being key for me after having babies–until I was exercising regularly, I couldn’t find my sleep mojo.


    1. You are always so nice, Liz. 🙂 Yes, that is the point: of course to get in shape, but also to puleeze puleeze let me get some sleep. The less I sleep, the more my body uses food for fuel and stores it all. Ugh. Just left band practice and had them pray for me, so I’m hoping that will help tonight!


      1. bahahahaha–I’ve fooled you into thinking I was nice 😉 I remember from my insomnia that there was so much pressure to sleep, which only made it harder. I’d lay there repeating “I don’t care if I sleep” which was a lie and I knew it. It’s gotta click for you eventually. Until then, just keep entertaining us all with your fun, sometimes snarky, always insightful posts.

        And shame on me for not offering you the scarily ironic thought that inside your head, on every beat and the beat’s so loud, deep inside. The pressure’s high, just to stay alive ‘Cause the heat is on. Oh-wo-ho, oh-wo-ho. Caught up in the action I’ve been looking out for you.” It’s like he wrote this for you.


  3. The heat is…boom boom boom boom…ON! Kerbey I’m visiting today to tell you that your snark is apparently rubbing off on my daughter. She looked at me with an “I don’t get it” look scrunched on her face when I said we were having eggplant for dinner. She said she didn’t want eggs for dinner. I tried explaining and only confused her further I think. Then she looked at her snack of mixed nuts and asked me to show her the coconut one. She doesn’t get it either. Maybe you two can collaborate sometime.


    1. I definitely feel her. It’s a natural association she made. When I first heard of Olive Loaf, how was I to know that was a deli meat? Ew. Hmmm. Maybe you should get her a trail mix with the coconut shavings mixed in, and that would make more sense, just being at the party with the other nuts. I don’t get it either! Bring it on, Oliva.


  4. I love this story, Kerbey. It’s honest and gritty and, yes, simply pretty in its telling. I feel like I have seen your subdivision and the sprawl.

    Now I will pray that you get that sleep. Somehow I missed this post yesterday, but since you just commented on mine tonight, I know you are still WordPressing this evening.

    Close your eyes in your McMansion, take a deep cleansing breath, put the world out of your head, forget all about Al Gore and couches in trailer front yards, and nighty-night my friend.


      1. I think he’s busy polishing his Nobel Prize. Or Febrezing it. Wow. And I was getting my undies in a bunch over my $60 gas bill. Way to leave an awesome carbon footprint and in no way be hypocritical. Reminds me of the gas used on all those Airforce One trips.


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