It's hot. It's the height of summer.
It's the days where cotton clings to armpits and sweat trickles down spines.
As I bike down the Western part of Manhattan Island, I drip with perspiration. The air is laden with the humid taste of hot pavement and engine exhaust. I see hundreds of faces as I bike in and out of the streets and sidewalks; glossy from the film of wetness on their bodies. Dirty looking shirts and dresses are drenched in beaded sweat. The steam from the subway stations rises up from the vents in the streets. The city is a boiler room. How does one protect themselves from the swelter? This is a wool blog, so it's pretty obvious that the answer is wool. And most people think I'm crazy when I tell them that I wear wool all year round
. This summer, I have been wearing thin Merino Wool T-shirts
to see if they really work. When I invariably sweat, wool fabrics wick away the moisture like a second skin. The result is that the body is actually able to cool itself and I am feeling much more comfortable throughout the day, unlike with cotton which fails to breathe. A lot of people also see these benefits in performance polyester fibers, which is great. But another benefit of wool is that it is anti-microbial
. Meaning that bacterial cannot survive in wool fabrics. So my clothing does not carry odor. So that shirt I wear when I run and bike around the city stays dry and fresh smelling (and un-wrinkled) day in and day out. Lycra and other performance polyesters cannot make that claim. As for the wool undergarments, the whole situation of "swamp" has been a non-issue. Biking back home as the sun began to set, a storm cell passed through the city. It's started with a sprinkle, which I invited with a generous smile. I could feel the pavement beginning to cool as the brightly colored umbrellas began to spring up around me. Puddles began to form, and the sounds of water falling elevated to a pitter patter. The wind against my cheek began to quicken its pace and the sweet sting of the droplets turned to sheets of rain. We were in a downpour. A summer flood. And I got wet. I felt like a character in an action movie. Lighting flashed across the sky followed closely by rolling thunder. The sky had darkened, and the sticky air from before was replaced by cool air and wetness. The wheels of my tires picked up water from the ground and sprayed me all up and down my body. The temperature had dropped and I was no longer hot, but I was very wet. I have got to thank the sheep once again, because wool keeps you warm even when you are wet, and despite the sun going down, the temperature drop, and the wetness: I did not show a single goose-bump. Once I got to my destination (with no change of clothing), the wool dried itself within a half an hour. Even my Merino socks
self dried. (Seriously, this stuff is unbelievable.) Summer in the city is a shifty time for weather. And Merino Wool helps me run the gambit from heat waves to white squalls, and come out the other end smelling good. As a utilitarian and pragmatist, I like the idea that I can eliminate 75% percent of my current wardrobe in favor of a few well selected durable true all-weather wears.
Praise be to the sheep.