As I write this, Howard County is poised to break another temperature record. I don’t know what’s happening at your house, but at my house, no one is asking, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”
The Weather Channel website describes the situation in rather excitable language:
“We're now approaching a two-week spell of record-smashing heat which first built in the Rockies and High Plains, then spread into the rest of the nation's heartland, then surged into the Southeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic States.
The number of record highs tied or broken across the nation is staggering.”
Lest we think that our friends at The Weather Channel are exaggerating, they provide a handy chart to back up their statement. On July 6 they reported that during the previous 30 days, nationally there were 4,250 daily high temperature records broken, 762 monthly records broken and 224 All-Time records broken.
In spite of the remarkable number of records broken, we Hoosiers have maintained a sense of calmness and gone about our daily business. Here in Howard County, we’ve been fortunate that there has been very little serious heat-related illness and virtually no emergency room visits due to the heat. We’ve been sure to stay hydrated, we’ve taken extra care to protect our pets from the heat, and we’re keeping a watchful eye on the crops.
So why are we handling this record heat with such composure when all around us, others are describing it in terms usually reserved for action movies or cheesy romance novels?
My theory is, it’s because we’re from Indiana. After all, what’s the most popular Hoosier response to weather-related issues?
“Don’t like the weather? This is Indiana. Wait five minutes and it will change.”
If only I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that in my lifetime…
We Hoosiers are proud of our crazy, you-never-know-what-you’re-going-to-get-next weather. Who reading this hasn’t started an Indiana day in winter clothes and ended it in shorts? I’ve worn summer clothes in January and seen it snow at Indy 500 time trials. We just don’t get too excited about the weather because we know that, here in Indiana, it will change quickly.
“Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes and it will change.” That just sums up so many things that I love about my fellow Hoosiers. The resiliency. The sense of optimism. The self-confidence to deal with whatever is going to come next.
You can learn a lot about people from how they handle the weather.
We Hoosiers have learned to cope with most of what comes our way. Heat, cold, floods, droughts, tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms, rain storms, and hail storms… we take it in stride.
Around the country, that isn’t always the case. As Will Rogers famously said, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.”
Somehow, in Indiana, it feels like we do ‘do something about it.’ We warn each other when bad weather is coming. We prepare for bad weather (why is it every Hoosier thinks they need to stock up on bread, milk and eggs every time a blizzard is forecast? “The Weather Channel said the record-smashing amount of snow that surged into Howard County was staggering – how did you survive it?” “French Toast!”). We try to keep each other safe during the bad weather. We help each other clean up after bad weather. And we reassure each other. “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes, it will change.”
If you think about it, we would all benefit if we handled our health the way we Hoosiers handle the weather.
- What if we all saw it as doing our loved ones a favor to warn them about the threat posed by unhealthy habits? What if we didn’t stay silent when we watched our loved ones ignore their high cholesterol and high blood pressure?
- What if we took steps to prepare to improve our health by making sure we have healthy food in the refrigerator and time in our calendars for exercise?
- What if we tried to keep each other safe by encouraging each other to schedule regular doctor’s appointments and health screenings that find problems when they’re small and most easily treated?
- What if we helped each other recover from health issues by driving friends and loved ones to doctor appointments, dropping off dinner to someone recovering from surgery, or writing a word of encouragement to someone dealing with a devastating diagnosis.
- And what if we took the time to reassure others that whatever they are going through, they aren’t alone, they have the support of someone who cares.
We Hoosiers can be a little stubborn about our health. There are some who would much rather deal with 10 tornadoes then have a colonoscopy.
You can learn a lot about people by how they handle the weather. And their health.
Treat your health like the weather. Pay attention where there are warnings, seek shelter when there are storm clouds, and accept help to deal with the aftermath of the storm.
Here’s to good weather and your good health.