The first recorded day that would have felt somewhat similar to we commonly refer to as “spring” was March 11th. On that day, Lake Geneva warmed to 53 degrees, and on subsequent days, too, the temperature pushed into the 50s and twice, the 60s. But not all 60s are created equal, which is why on March 16th when the temperature blossomed to 69 wonderful degrees, that was a day where we all thought things were better. The week that followed that high temperature was a week with highs that didn’t crack. 40. Then, the next week that followed, there was a 43 degree high on a Sunday and a 73 degree day on the Wednesday that had failed to hold and by Friday it was just 47. The month of April has been no less convinced of its seasonal allegiance, and there have been 70s and 40s, alas, there was a 27 this morning.
All seasons have many different faces, and within those faces, many different moods. When I close my eyes and think of August, I think of 80 degree sunshine, unspoiled by too much wind or too many clouds. This is a wonderful thought, but August a few years ago featured a few days with highs in the 50s, smothered in rain and tossed by wind. Fall is 68 degree crisp October afternoons, but it is also raw, wind lashed and rain soaked. It is brilliantly colored leaves set against bright blue, uninterrupted autumn skies, and the next day it is a dark and brooding sky pouring down rain that unmercifully strips those dandy leaves from their tether. Fall is many things, and winter, winter, winter is many shades of misery dashed with the highlight that is the first blanket of welcome snow.
While every month throws temper tantrums, spring is the most petulant by millions of miles. There is something about spring that engages so much of our emotion, something about that first 60 degree day with unfiltered sun. Something about that first thunderstorm that soaks the ground and something about the way that next morning finds a sepia lawn turned brilliant green. Even now, in the midst of this cold week, on the heels of that most cold night, there is promise in the way the ground looks. A week ago, I wished badly that the perennials in front of my office would come to life. Even while so much around them had greened and sprouted, they looked as though they went the way of most of the things that I plant, dead. But this morning, after this early week cold rain and this late week cold wind, they are pushing up shoots and leaves now appear where a week ago there were none. Even though things look like they’re stuck in place, we are marching forward.
But forward to what? Forward to, as I heard a client of mine say last week, Friday night pot-lucks on city blocks where so much wine must be drunk so as to allow the participants to forget that they’re spending every Friday night in the city? While this spring is cold, and it’s lingering for longer than any of us wish it to, this spring is turning into summer. That’s a leap on a day like this, and with a forecast high of 45 degree rain tomorrow, but it’s an inevitability that must be prepared for. It feels today like early spring, and the calendar tells us that it’s mid-spring, but those with lake houses and summer plans know that spring is something we must simply endure and tolerate, because there’s a very bright light at the end of this entirely too long of tunnel: Summer starts 4 weeks from today.
That statement isn’t entirely true, so forgive me for the assumption. Summer starts 4 weeks from today for those who have made proper winter preparations. For those who have either bought a lake home recently or those that bought one so long ago. For those privileged, forward thinking few, summer starts, without any hesitation or doubt, on the Friday that falls four weeks from this one. That’s no promise of immediate summer weather, mind you, but that is the promise of a weekend spent different, of a weekend spent in leisure. You could, at this very moment, be looking forward to summer cook-outs and your city neighborhood pot-luck. If things go right, you could be looking forward to that Friday night part and Sunday morning brunch. Again, assuming you’re up for so much incredible city fun in one short weekend! Or, you could be thinking about summer at the lake, about grilling out lakeside and walking over soft green grass and onto a sturdy white pier. If you could be spending summer that way, then you should be spending summer that way. It starts in four weeks, ready or not.