sex, money, and miscellany: talking about what matters

cooler by the shore

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2009 at 6:00 am

When I was growing up, summer weather was always reported in two tiers: the predicted temperature, and then “cooler by the shore”. Ocean moderates temperature, swallowing heat and cold in vast quantities, and we coastal dwellers get used to it.

Well if the ocean is still doing its work, I hate to think where we’d be without it. These last few days on the coast of Maine have been absolutely sweltering, thickly humid and in the mid-eighties…and cooler by the shore, but you have to be right on the shore. Up to your knees in water if possible. For those of you in Florida this might sound like child’s play, but we had to be acclimated to 64 and drizzly two weeks ago. This is abrupt and brutal change.

Sometimes abrupt change is bad. Sometimes it makes for a miserable summer. But sometimes it’s good. There’s that old metaphor of the frog being boiled–put the frog in when the water is cold, and it won’t notice it’s being cooked; put the frog into already hot water, and it jumps right out. Abrupt change makes change visible, clear, obvious, so we can make a conscious choice. And there’s something to be said for conscious choice. In conscious choice there are no waffles, no sidesteps, no excuses. If you know the water is hot, you can choose it, but then you have to own your choice. If it later becomes too hot, though, you know it’s hot; you know you can still choose to jump out. Which means if you choose to stay in, you relinquish your right to complain, and you take a firm hold on your agency. You can make change, and you know it. Now your world really is in your hands.

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