I have this strange inability to retain heat. I am constantly cold, and perhaps, this is what has spurred what I can only describe as a romanticization of heat. I love the heat, though I don’t hate cold (read: curled up by fire, wine/book in hand), there’s something about heat I almost crave. Bizarre, perhaps. And it’s a certain type, the dry heat that penetrates your skin and ignites your bones filling your whole body with warmth. Not the hot, sticky humidity that gives the distinct impression you’re swimming in air, suffocating your skin as sweat cascades down your spine: this heat, I do not like. No, I prefer the stark, bone-dry heat of the desert, the desolate, searching variety that suggests danger.
I’ve been having this recurring dream.
Sand is collecting around my feet as I stare down at them, naked, exposed, I’ve lost my shoes. The soft wind whips in currents giving slight respite from the daunting heat. I’m lost, but not scared. I feel acutely aware of my surroundings, the heat is draping over me, senses heightened. The light breeze whistles in my ears, the faint smell of gasoline and ocean breeze mingle in a strangely pleasant way. The cool concrete of the wall I’m sitting against presses insistently into my back as I steal the last of it’s cooling powers. My skin is dark, slicked with grease and sweat, my hair is tangled by the salt in the air. I breathe deeply and allow the hot sweet air to fill my lungs as I settle deeper into the sand. I have the distinct understanding I am lost, but I am happy, as if here, I am free of something. My breath slows, I’ve been running, but from what I am unsure. Small cuts sting as sweat trickles down my legs, but still, I feel no fear. I glance up to see a brilliant blue sky, wisps of clouds stream by at an unnaturally quick pace, yet the earth is still, the air is thick. The sun is far too large, a blood orange I’ve only ever seen at sunset. I have the distinct sensation of melting into the ground, yet I am not moving. I close my eyes and think of cool water, of the pure and simple bliss of washing the dirt and heat away, I sigh deeply, and suddenly, I’m awake.
I have this dream when I feel most unsettled, when the urge to move becomes an insatiable need; escape. I don’t understand the comfort of the desert. Perhaps it is the complete absence of all things human, a beautiful retreat from the cacophony of society.
But lately, I’ve been dreaming of heat.