Every year it’s the same. The struggle of winter. Snow flies and ice clings, to the branches to our streets and to the space where our grass used to grow green. It smothers everything around us, and at times, us. Then spring comes, slowly, teasingly, miserably. It shows itself in March but rarely returns in full force until May, leaving us wondering when it will arrive in earnest and when it will leave us. That’s the secret of nearly every season- the wait for it to begin is filled with hope and impatience, but once it arrives we are in a similar hurry to rush through it and get to what’s next. This is true of all seasons, but mostly of spring. If you find someone who loves spring in its entirety then you have found someone who forever wishes for things but never wishes to see those things come true. Spring is a promise that only a summer day can fulfill.
When spring grows old, with its moderately-sort-of-warmish-temperatures, and its soaking rains, no one wishes it to stay. Spring starts sometime in March and kills all of April and generally May too, but June is intended to be a month of mostly summer even though the calendar proves it to be a month of mostly spring. On a year like this, the wait for spring to end was painfully long. Spring, it could be argued, never left until the calendar turned July. Sure June had some hot days, big deal. A few hot days scattered amongst a steady diet of rainy storms does not make summer any more than a snowflake in November makes for winter. Spring arrived late and stayed for a seasonal eternity.
But spring did leave, even if slowly and at a very late date, and by the fourth of July we had been enjoying summer for at least a few days. The delay in summer sparked an absolute rush to enjoy it. We felt as though we waited for so long that we missed much of it. We felt as though time had pushed past us, and spring had gobbled some, or most, of our summer. So we took to the water and we took to the streets and we protested spring by lighting our grills and burning our backs, and we worked very, very hard over the last holiday to make sure we could squeeze at least some summer out of what might be left of it. We returned to work a week ago tired. Burned. And resigned to the fate that while we had at least some summer we certainly wouldn’t have all that much of it. Stupid long spring.
Then came this past week, and with it the just ended weekend. The sun that had only peaked out of the storm clouds for long enough to make us question whether or not we should call the authorities to report a great shining, unfamiliar orb, beat back the clouds, perhaps for good. And then after Sunday the Monday was nice too. As was Tuesday. And then when I woke on Wednesday and I looked out to see blue skies the sight was not unexpected. Thursday was like this too, and when I hit the water Thursday evening with the sun casting a fading silver glow onto the big lake it seemed as though summer was no longer a dream or a fleeting memory, it was right there in front of me and all around me.
This weekend it was the same. Morning found blue skies and afternoon found ample sun, more than enough to tan those who basked under it and even enough to kiss those who tried their best to avoid it. Saturday was like this and Sunday too. The desire to drop everything and rush to capture the lake at a moment of blue sky splendor had dissipated. In spring, this is how it had to be, because in this last spring there was so little blue to be found outside of our personal moods. Sunday I worked, and I watched the lake from the shore without much concern. I knew I would be finished with work soon enough and I had faith that the blue skies I saw at 2 pm would still be there at 4 pm once I was ready for it. The complaint that summer would pass me, and all of us, by without giving us a chance to enjoy it was summarily dismissed. In a rare twist of justice, though we were in the wrong and brought the frivolous suit in the first place, we are the ones that receive the reward.
Today, it is July the 15th and it is sunny and warm. By my math, we have so much summer left that there is far more of it ahead of us than lies behind us. We are in the middle of this summer, and while we feared it may never come it has rarely disappointed. Unless you’re spending summer in the city, in which case disappointment is everywhere.