I tell myself each year, in the spring, that this year it's going to be different. Since there's nothing I can do about summer, I need to at least make up my mind that there will be no whining and complaining this year. If I can't really enjoy the season, perhaps I can just accept it as it is, even as I go dodging from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned car, setting the controls on "afterburner" so I can endure the ride, and then sprint across a parking lot to an air-conditioned store. Acceptance is the answer.
Acceptance to summer is not my speed. I can't help but after a few weeks of high 80s-lower 90s, to start the litany again: Summer sucks. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed "Hoover." (I've been told that that's very old-fashioned. Okay. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed "Roomba.") The sun gives me headaches, or a rash, or both. In rare cases it has given me heart palpitations, but always too long out in the sun I can hear my heart start to beat like the big bass drum in the circus parade: BOOM BOOM BOOM. It shakes me until I run inside and sit under a fan, waiting for it to return to the quiet lub-dub. I'm chivvied out of my bed early to walk the dog before the sidewalks turn into griddles, the asphalt stinks, the air smells of car exhaust. I can't see the appeal of sitting all day on a beach under a broiler whose fire makes my skin burn and prickle. So most of this summer, especially when temps climbed into the high 90s, I kept my head down and prayed for autumn.
Last night a wind blew down out of the north and we woke to mid-60s temperatures. It so invigorated me I walked the dog an extra quarter mile and, while we did keep a brisk enough pace for me to break a sweat, it wasn't the usual one where even my underwear became sopped. As soon as I was inside, I threw open a few windows and opened the door to the deck and turned on a couple of fans.
Out the living room window I saw this. The tulip trees, at least, are longing for autumn. Too, the scuppernongs growing wild out on the main road have grapes swollen to size, and now ripening and falling. The oaks are already host to browning leaves that are dropping. Other bushes have leaves turning yellow, or even drifting off every few seconds, like the down when Snowy moults.
Look at that tulip tree sporting its saffron spots. The plants know summer is waning—I wish the weather would figure it out! I long for cool temperatures and cool breezes, weather cold enough to snuggle in flannel and fleece, wearing a robe and fuzzy slippers, eating gingerbread and sipping peppermint-spiked hot chocolate. Weather where you feel comfortable, not attacked. A chill that keeps the mosquitoes (a big problem this year!) away. Wander off, O summer, where the odd ones want you: down to Florida and all those inexplicable lookalike Caribbean resorts that are giveaway prizes on Wheel of Fortune. Sail away...even better, jet away. Wish you could stay there for good, too.