No, it IS the heat

    The first day of summer and it is raining. It was thundering this morning about 5:45, and I muttered about having to get up during such perfect sleeping weather.

    So I made a pot of coffee for my husband and went back to bed for an hour and 20 minutes, and got up much happier.

    I am working at home today and it is very humid, which reminds me of how people complain, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

    Yes and no.

    I remember how when I first moved to Michigan, people fussed about how humid it was. Having grown up in the Ohio River Valley, I thought it was drier here. Certainly we didn’t have the weeks of spring rain I’d grown used to in Kentucky, and the bouts of bronchitis that had followed the last couple of years.

    I spent my senior year of high school at Midland High and then left again. As we were pulling into Louisville just short of mid-June, the radio announcer pronounced it was 82 degrees out, with 82 percent humidity.

    It felt great.

    I learned about the lies of dry heat when I lived in Phoenix later that summer. (Yes, in my 18-year-old brilliance I moved to Sun Valley in mid-July.) I had my first encounters with the desert, with the strange orange cast of the sky, with homes that had no dryers because you could hang jeans outside and they’d be dry in 20 minutes.

    I loved monsoon season. Around sunset there would be fantastic electrical storms, with lightning shooting across the color-streaked skies. Then torrents of rain would fall, filling the streets halfway up the tires.

    Then that ended and it was late August, and it was hot. I had experienced 108-degree heat occasionally in Kentucky -– most notably at marching band camp, where classmates wilted to the ground as they stood waiting to practice or perform –- but not days upon end of it.

    I tell you that “it’s a dry heat” is a delusion, a brave face, a lie. When it is creeping toward 110 and the room air conditioner is going and the swamp cooler on top of the house is going and a fan is blowing directly on you and you STILL have sweat pouring down your face, it’s just plain hot.

Happy summer!

    This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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