Thursday, June 11, 2015


Summer, like any other season, occurs in my personal life when I feel it. Right now—ten days before the Summer Solstice—it’s summer, folks.

I don’t know about the livin’ bein’ easy…

Yesterday’s high temp (the last time I dared to look) was 88, felt like 93, according to The Weather Channel; and the car thermometer read 90 degrees at 5 PM. Summer temps.
There’ve been thunderstorms every day except Tuesday for the past week, with more to come until Saturday evening. We get the whole gigantic show: lightning, thunder, wind, rain pelting down. We have pools at the end of our driveways and in the low places in yards.

On the plus side: Everything is green, grass grows an inch an hour (well, all right, not quite that fast), and gardens and farm fields are showing signs of future crop yields.

My favorite part of summer—actually, about the only part I like—is fresh produce. My friends and kids who have gardens always have a surplus of something to share. The downtown Farmer’s Market is better than an exotic grocery store: heirloom tomatoes in various shapes, sizes, and colors; big squash, little squash, fat squash, thin squash; yellow corn, white corn, and then, of course, yellow-and-white corn on the same cob. Green beans, purple beans (that turn dark green when cooked), yellow beans. Cucumbers, eggplant, peas, broccoli….
Yes, I can get those veggies all year long at my supermarket, but for fresh, sweet, just-picked flavor and color--umm, market every time.
The other part of summer I like is the no-ice-sleet-snow part. I never have to cancel out of playing the church services due to bad weather. And I can go places in the evening if I want to; the light lasts practically all night, especially with daylight savings time in place. (That’s another love-hate story, which you’ve heard before.)

My personal way of coping is to have enough library books and movies on hand, make sure the air conditioning is working, chill a dozen or so bottles of water for quick refreshment, and make plenty of colorful salads with all the aforementioned produce.

Any chores that have to be done outside, such as picking up limbs and sticks downed by the latest windy storm, are scheduled for early morning, before the humidity and heat have a chance to do their thing.
If I’m going to be fair, I have to say that all seasons have their pluses and minuses.

Autumn, my very favorite, is beautiful and energizing for me; and it’s too short. Autumn on the calendar lasts until December 21st (more or less), and by then we may have had deep snow for a month, snow that doesn’t want to go away. Thus, my personal Autumn lasts only until about November 1st, which may be only six weeks or so.
Winter can be beautiful—if I’m inside looking out from my warm house at the snowscapes that sparkle and shine. Birds can be plentiful at my full feeders. But Winter’s downside is enough to keep me in the house for weeks on end: treacherous walks and streets, low-low temps that steal my breath and shiver my bones. And Winter out-stays its welcome. You can tell I’m not an ice skater or skier, and I no longer make snow people or angels on the ground. It’s a challenge to put on enough clothes to be comfortable, indoors or out, and still be able to move.

Spring is always welcome! She arrives just as I and most of my associates are ready to give up. Her greatest asset is sunshine and warm breezes, flowers and blooming trees; but she’s coy, too, and just when we put away our heavy jackets, she surprises us with an overnight snow and temperature plunge. “Just a joke,” she says. Uh-huh. This year we’ve had a lovely spring—long, slow arrival, then only a couple of joke-y days. But again, she didn’t stay quite long enough.
So now it’s Summer—never mind what the calendar says—and the temps are definitely stuck in the 80s. Humidity likewise. Summer came early, and will stay too long. But that’s just my take on the seasons.

If you like Summer, then I wish you a grand and glorious one, and that it lasts for you just long enough for you to feel you’ve had a great season. You have so many choices—summer camp, camping, vacation, picnics, cookouts, popsicles, swimming, boating….
But I’m campaigning for an early Autumn—starting, oh, around September 1st, maybe a week or two earlier. After all, school starts the first or second week of August, so why not Autumn? Colored leaves, cooler nights, and cooler days, the year winding down.

Good thing the seasons aren’t up to us, right? We take what we’re given, try to be thankful for it, and then live with it. That’s what life in the upper Midwest is all about. And when I can’t stand it any more, I can always look for another place that approaches my personal definition of Nirvana. (And I can hear you say, Good luck with that one!)




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