It’s funny how simple sayings, no matter how incorrect they may be, can dig into our subconscious and become a recognized staple in our written and spoken word. In case you haven’t noticed, this summer has been a hot one. So hot, in fact, that a cold front blew through last night and lowered the temperature into the mid 80’s. I’m a huge fan of the heat, not the Miami kind, rather the kind that makes me sweat while working and sweat while resting, and sweat even more while playing. I, unlike Algore, like my summers served with a dollop of hot.
Only in the midst of a summer as divinely warm as this would I take umbrage with a saying that is so simple and on the surface, so refreshing. Jimmy Buffet turned the saying into a melody, and the mere mention of french wine and cheeses also brings to mind those warm summer breezes. Ah, warm summer breezes. Merely reading those words incites thoughts of lazy summer days spent lakeside, watching white sails cut through blue waters. Those words can be read in winter and make anyone long for summer. For warm breezes, and swaying trees so full of dark green leaves that they make a beautiful rustling sound at the sole request of those warm summer breezes.
It is in this way that the words warm…summer…breezes don’t make much sense, really. Do we really want our summer breezes to be warm? Listen, it’s not like I’m saying that I want my summer breezes to be cold- that’s not it at all. It’s just that I’m wondering if anyone among us has ever sat outside in mid July under the shade of a Maple tree and uttered those linguistic words “what a perfect warm summer breeze”. Possibly yes, but probably no. Instead, if the temperature is moderating in the high 80’s, and the sun is beating down in typical mid-summer fashion, wouldn’t we sit under that tree and, with drink in hand, proclaim the breeze something other than warm? Wouldn’t we sit under that tree, and if we were feeling so inspired by a breeze on a hot summer day, say that the breeze was refreshing? Wouldn’t we say it was cooling? Wouldn’t we say it was divine? But not because it was warm, as nothing could be further from the truth, but because it cooled us down?
I spent the weekend enjoying the cooling summer breezes of Lake Geneva. Where delicious and simultaneously unbearable heat owned anyone willingly positioned in the sun, anyone finding a spot of shade near the water could find comfort in the cooling nature of a soft lake breeze. Last night, I had to take some relatives to the airport. I took young Thomas with, and on our way home, we had to stop at a Barnes and Noble so that I might purchase a book that I’ll more than likely never finish. For those who were not out last night, say at around 7 pm, it was a hot, sticky night. I walked out of the book store, me with my book about whales (seriously), Thomas with his about octopi, and our first step outside was met with an intolerably warm breeze. A sticky, stale, warm breeze. The sort of breeze that can only whip up after flowing over parking lots, parked cars, and dumpsters. I thought about Jimmy Buffet and his lies about warm summer breezes. I thought about my weekend enjoying refreshing summer breezes, and then I thought about this inevitable post. I decided it then and there, on the hot asphalt of a suburban book store. I hate warm summer breezes.
Hate might be too strong of a word, as some warm summer breezes can be welcome. Early summer breezes that blow warm are a particular favorite. Late summer and fall breezes that teeter on warmth are also particularly wonderful. It’s just that mid-summer breezes that also happen to be warm are more disgusting than they are refreshing. When I think of warm summer breezes, I think of Wrigley field. I think of that sweet, sticky breeze that blows very slowly down the alleys and under the L. The sort of breeze that causes anyone to huff asthmatic. The sort of gross breeze that makes recirculated office air feel clean. I think about the smell of those breezes, and I think about how those warm summer breezes can’t hold a candle to my refreshing summer breezes that blow willingly and steadily across my beloved lake.
I love Chicago. And I love Wrigley Field. I just can’t imagine an existence where the only July and August breezes I feel are warm ones. If you’re a little sick of the heat, and a little sick of warm, ripe breezes, just come to Lake Geneva. Let our breezes refresh you, and perhaps you too, like me, will find a way to find a soothing Jimmy Buffet song mildly misleading.