Chronicles

A Proper Summer

        In a typical year in this part of the world, we experience winter weather for more than five months. Spring - or what is supposed to be spring - will consume more than three. that leaves us with four months to cram in all of those things that we associate with summer and fall. It only seems fair, then, that when summer finally arrives, it fulfills its promise.

        On the North Shore, a place that I habitually refer to as "Winter Country" in my writings, summer is often an ephemeral experience. Some years it hardly happens at all. When it does, most of us are easily satisfied. We don't expect to have weeks of blistering temperatures and sodden humidity such as people experience in many other parts of the continent. We do hope for a few days when even the early morning dews promise heat, when sitting under the trees or on the beach seem like the most sensible options on afternoons when even the birds and insects drift into indolence, and when the evenings retain warmth so that one does not even think of a sweater. When we get those days, we hear people say "This is a proper summer."

        Although I often deplore the miseries of spring as it happens around here, I appreciate much of its beauty, particularly as I am out and around to watch life emerge from the blankets of winter. Fall is brief and usually spectacular, but even on its most beautiful days, it seems like a prelude to winter. Winter is the reality and those who find it long and hard do have something about which to complain.

        Personally, I thrive in winter and cannot imagine life without it. Still, I expect that I enjoy it all the more when I contrast its stark, pristine beauty with the sensuous warmth and luxury of a day when the air is laden with the scent of newly mown hay,the afternoon breezes do little more than stir the heat around, and the clouds looming over the western horizon brood about developing into evening thunder showers. I am certain that my enjoyment of the extremes of summer and winter reflect contrasts (conflicts?) in my own personality - my desires to be up and about doing things, and those that see me stretched out in a hammock, good book and cold drink close at hand, with no more ambition than to doze in the breeze.

        We have had several of these days lately and I have indulged my desire to luxuriate al the more because I had put in a major effort to get the garden under control, the lawns mowed, and the other necessary chores under control before they actually began. So, when on an afternoon recently when I checked out my backdoor thermometer and saw it reading 34 degrees it only took me a nanosecond to rationalize that it was to hot to do anything but to respond to the siren call of the hammock.        

        Ah, yes, for these few days at least, it is "a proper summer."

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