We are now beyond the polite sundress season, way past hiding bra straps and donning breezy cardigans. In almost any weather, I prefer layered clothing. Just as socks protect me from blisters, keeping my thighs and arms under wrap prevents chafing and other discomforts. When you hike and garden and wander as much as I do, you get used to swaddling a body.

Until August. Ninety degrees and 100% humidity is my breaking point for modesty. I wake up every morning itching mosquito bites along my ankles and calves. I am acutely aware of what a damp, needy, sensitive body I have, all the livelong month. It’s too hot to feel shame or do anything but seek shelter and cling to relief (as calamine lotion or aloe gel or a tower fan or a glass of ice water).

August is about surrender. August is about bodies. More »