Don’t Die Today . . .

Sounds like the advice or scolding Mom might give you as you walk out the door to play with friends. 

From my childhood, I can certainly recall that melodic voice calling after me as I exited the house . . . usually reminding me of when I needed to be home.

No life or death caveats.

So, well, maybe that title is a little overly dramatic. Of course, while Mom never used those words, there might have been a hinting of that goal in the words she did choose.

But this exact statement is posted all over the national park I’m now visiting.   They’re not sugar-coating anything here.  Extreme heat is the rule, not the exception here.

If it’s 11 am, you missed your window for a hike in this combination of desert biomes.

Now, I’ve worked in the heat to the point of having heat exhaustion. I remember well the tunnel vision creeping in – pure darkness closing in from both my right and left periphery.   Time to dump a bottle of water over my head and retreat to the air conditioning.

I’ve also hiked to the point where it was literally time to crawl under a rock and hide, or find water, any water, and jump in.  There’s no air conditioning out there, and around the time your shadow starts to disappear, as Grandfather Sun reaches his zenith, it’s time to take shelter. 

I’ve done a lot of hiking this summer in a lot of different biomes, but in this heat, I’m a chilling.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be back with a post dedicated to the “art” of hiking.  It might be a little boring to speak of things so mechanically, but there are definite dos and don’ts that go along with taking a “walkabout.” And I encountered some of the don’ts big time this year.

“Don’t Die Today.”

You don’t have to be a hiker in extreme elements to take this advice.  Maybe we should all repeat this as a mantra as we enter the unpredictable world each day.  That world people like to think they control.  But don’t.  Not even close . . .

In Metta

Postscript: In a previous post, I discuss the alleged differences between walking and hiking: “One Foot in Front of the Other. ” And in another, I talk about calling cadence to assist one with taking on an extreme forced march: “Silence is Golden, but Mantras . . .” In the future, I’ll talk more about the dos and don’ts when getting exposure to the outdoors – to the real world.

Postscript 2: If you’ll notice in the comments, Carol picked up on a different connection with this phrase. I had deliberately left this out of the post wondering if anyone else would see it. Carol caught it quick. But imagine if you did have to tell your children this everyday, because of the color of their skin. Or perhaps you’d have to caution them daily because of anything else perceived as a disability, or being “different,” or somehow being “inferior,” or as an element of bigotry in any form. What kind of world do you wish to live in? One with the unity of recognizing the divinity in each of us; or one of division, where we must fear the hatred and bigotry of others.

Photo: Somewhere in the Southwest. A place of Peace and Beauty. Yet this environment can kill you if you don’t play by Nature’s rules.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Die Today . . .”

  1. I know this is about hiking in extreme weather but I cannot help thinking about the Black Lives Matter movement and how many mothers of black children have to tell them this, some on a daily basis. Forgive my going off topic on you, but this honestly is what is on my mind at this moment in time.

    Liked by 1 person

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