Friday, October 17, 2014

59. Sweat

Whistle and I were hiking into the White Mountains, and the day was swelteringly hot. We knew we were heading straight up a huge mountain, and we were already covered in sweat. Often, I would hike wearing only a sports bra, and Whistle would usually wear a gray sports bra with an open button-down shirt. On this particular day, I just so happened to be wearing a tank top, while Whistle had packed away her shirt and was just rockin' the sports bra. Trust me when I say I spent probably 2 straight months wearing no shirt. Ladies wear sports bras to the gym or when they're out on a run, so I always figured that it was perfectly fine to just wear a sports bra while hiking. It's within context! I wasn't shopping at Bloomingdales, I was walking over mountains. There was no escaping the heat, but I could wear as little clothing as possible while still being decent.

A photo from this specific day!

Very recently we'd passed a road crossing, so there were several day hikers on the trail around us. Whistle and I were chatting away about something, probably something philosophical and thought-provoking (The structure of D+D Character Sheets) when we passed by a young couple hiking down the mountain with two children. One of the children was an infant in a bjorn on the mother's back, while the other was a 3 year old toddling along.

The family stepped aside for us to pass, and I offered a cheery "Hello!"

In return I was given the dirtiest of dirty looks. If this look was a mobster, it would be the kind of mobster that cheats at cards and then throws the other guy in the East River. Dirty. 

"You might consider putting on a shirt," she sneered, looking past me at Whistle, her voice absolutely soaked in passive-aggressive contempt, while trying to cover the eyes of her toddler. 

The Feminist Bronx in me immediately roared to the surface, and I opened my mouth to say something totally boss, but Whistle (luckily) spoke first. She flashed the woman a genuine smile, completely side-stepping the disdain.

"It's hot today!" she chirruped, not sarcastically, as though she took the woman's words at face value, rather than absorbing the grouchiness. A few minutes after we passed them, Whistle began whistling behind me, clearly in a good mood. I was meanwhile glowering about the utter rudeness of the woman.

"Did that bother you?" I asked Whistle.

"Did what bother me?" She replied, concerned.

"That woman."

"Oh, her? Nah. I figure, I'm just lucky that I don't have to live my life being miserable and judgmental. It's probably pretty exhausting. If anything, it just makes me sad for her that she has to carry that burden. I like being happy."

Well said.

In the context of regular life, we can sometimes get caught up in the way we look to other people. Especially with sweat. There is an entire aisle in the grocery store dedicated to making sure that people can hide the fact that they sweat. Don't get me wrong, I like wearing deodorant. Sitting in an office all day, I'm glad that I don't have to get random whiffs of molted green onion coming from myself. 

But being in the woods, I don't have to care about sweat, ever. No other hiker cares if you have pit stains, or if there is dried salt on your face from the sweat that collected there and then evaporated. No one cares what you smell like, and no one thinks its weird if you wanna hike without a shirt. Day hikers might have judgment, because they've never experienced what it's like to be unshowered for a week, and being able to be perfectly at peace with the reality of the human body.

Bodies are GROSS. And it's AWESOME.

Rinsing off some sweat at a river!

Drying sweat off ourselves with the cool air whooshing out from underneath a road!


Bug net = triple the sweat. But hey, no bugs in the face!

This day was so hot.
Clever Girl

1 comment:

  1. New book request: "The Tao of Whistle". Lots of wisdom in that girl. Simpler thought: love the ankle tan line in the last pic...better than a sock. Love, Mom and Dad