Swelter in Place

D.K. Wall
4 min readJul 2, 2023

Living in the North Carolina mountains normally means pleasant weather, but our current summer heat means we swelter in place.

I regretted my decision to venture outside within seconds of exiting the air-conditioned comfort of the house. The sweltering air wrapped around me, a suffocating embrace from Satan himself, as I stumbled into the yard. The thick humidity smothered me like a pile of hot, wet towels.

I squinted against the glaring sunlight as the searing heat burned into my skin. Someone had turned up the brightness of the world and forgot to dial it back down. I envied moles and bats, creatures who didn’t have to endure the torment of this blazing brilliance.

Sweat poured out of every pore, forming rivulets that cascaded down my face and back. I was a human fountain, a monument to the art of perspiration. Sweat puddled around my shoes as the soles melted on the pavement. The pools of perspiration bubbled until they evaporated in a salty puff of steam.

I gasped for air, but each intake felt like trying to breathe through a woolen scarf while running a marathon in a sauna. The thick air settled into my lungs, drowning me with the humidity.

The air smelled thick, even smoky, with an overwhelming scent of pavement cooking in the scorching heat. The entire neighborhood turned into a massive griddle, sizzling away at an ungodly temperature. The tiny cries of the asphalt reached my ears as it writhed in agony.

I took a step forward and the brittle grass crunched underneath my feet. The distant hum of air conditioning units cruelly reminded me of the cool paradise I had left behind. The entire world laughed at my expense as my vision faded and my body weakened.

Unsteadily, I turned back to the safety of the house. With the last ounces of my fading strength, I pushed open the door, oozed over the threshold, and collapsed into the cool air inside. Against all odds, I had survived.

Yes, the temperatures had soared to 85º in Asheville.

I know, I know. Some of you from Texas or Arizona or Nevada will tell me that yesterday’s high was 227º, the ground turned to molten lava, and you barely noticed. I don’t care. I’m a hot weather wimp and spend my summers sweltering in place.

As many of you will recall, we left our beloved mountains a few years ago and moved to the coast. We wanted to spend our senior years savoring the ocean breezes. We bought a terrific house overlooking the salt marsh in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. We loved our neighbors, the great seafood, the beautiful wildlife, and the astounding sunrises with their glorious colors.

Despite all that, we only lasted a couple of years before the letter H got us. Actually, three of them-heat, humidity, and hurricanes. That and mosquitos, but I couldn’t think of an easy way to turn them into an H. Pesky creatures don’t even help with an alliteration.

It wasn’t just the heat during the day. It’s hot at night. I’d get up in the dark to enjoy those glorious sunrises, but started sweating as soon as I hit the deck. Temperatures demonically hovered in the low 80s. Before sunrise.

We rarely had high temperatures as hot here in Asheville during June. We even had days where the high didn’t get out of the 60s. And we loved every day.

But a switch flipped this weekend. The hot weather crept into our mountains. Forecasts call for highs in the 80s every day for the next several weeks. Okay, sure, a lot of those days will be low 80s, but it will be 80s. We even have the chance of creeping over 90. Egads!

So we’ll be doing our dog walks early in the morning. Then we will return to the house and stay there for the day. I’ll savor the air conditioning-if I can get the dogs to stop hogging the blessed chill by sleeping on top of the vents. Even they say it’s hot.

July 2023 Reader Survey Question

How Hot is Hot?

Each month, I ask the readers of my newsletter a question or two. Sometimes, my questions are random fun things that have nothing to do with books. Other queries are about reading and writing.

Join in the fun and answer this month’s survey when I ask about your favorite thing to cook on a backyard grill. The results will be shared in next month’s newsletter, so be sure you’re subscribed.

Sour Notes: A Novel

To read a sample chapter, please visit the book page where you can also find links to various retailers. Happy reading!

Gratuitous Dog Photo: Baking Trouble Brothers

Roscoe and Typhoon — The Trouble Brothers

Despite Siberian Huskies being cold weather dogs, Roscoe and Typhoon enjoy napping in the sunshine. Probably recharging via solar energy.

Until Next Monday

Do your best to stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat. Or go enjoy it if you are one of those hot weather fans.

If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.

See you next Monday.

Swelter in Place was originally published at dkwall.com on July 2, 2023



D.K. Wall

Author living in Asheville NC with a herd of rescued Siberian Huskies. My stories are totally true except for the parts I make up. Visit dkwall.com