It is advisable not to do any walking outside between the hours of ten and two because the ultra violet rays are too strong. But what if you wake up at 9 a.m., don’t have a car, and need to mail a cashier’s check before noon? Exactly. So, I put on sunblock, and a white long-sleeve sheer blouse, grabbed a book and headed to the bank. The bank is a 15 minute walk from my house, but with the heat I felt like I was on a pilgrimage across the Sahara.    One of the best books I have read while getting my MFA was Don’t Let’s Go to  the Dog’s Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller. Her story is set in Africa. She learns from her mother, “If you drink a cup of tea and eat something salty in the middle of the afternoon, you won’t get heat exhaustion.” But, what do you drink in the morning before noon? I tried water and eventually some creative thinking.  I tried not to focus on the heat or the thoughts begging me to turn back. I listened instead to the birds chirping as their wings flapped above me. I listened to the dry leaves being pushed by the wind behind me. I thought  about lines from my favorite books. I focused on my breathing instead of the heat, and I reached my destination faster than usual.  On my walk back home, however, it felt hotter. I didn’t think of any lines from any book, I  didn’t think of tea or of birds. All I could think about was a new car and the feel of air conditioning blowing on my face.

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