Summer

I hate the damn summer. I was a schoolteacher for thirty years, summer of course meant much more than a season. It was a two-and-a-half month holiday! I loved the notion of summer, that is, a long break from the daily grind. The reality though is that I hated the season. Too bloody hot for my taste. And despite the fact that summer means baseball I still hate it. I’m not good in the heat. I like it cool. Or cold. Or wet. Or grey, foggy, and overcast.

This little spring-like respite we’ve had from the impending onslaught of summer has been grand. I sure enjoy the milder temperatures. I also like it when you can be outside all day long. In full summer around here I scurry inside by ten or eleven. It’s too hot after that. My Irish ancestry did not equip me for high desert climate. More precisely it did not equip me for high desert summers. Spring here is the briefest of the seasons, but the most lovely. Autumn comes a close second, but it’s so baked dry from the long hot time beforehand that it can’t compare to spring’s lushness. Winter is recreation time for me as I like to ski; obviously I like lots of snowfall in the mountains. I figure if it is going to be cold it might as well snow because you can at least go out and play in the stuff. Otherwise the short days can wear you down. But we are lucky here, the winters are mild relative to places like the Dakotas or New England.

That’s another beef I have with summertime: Time. Yes, that Time, the Standard Time kind of time. I like Standard Time. Not Daylight Time. This Daylight Savings Time nonsense has gone on too long and has to stop. You are supposed to get up early in the summer as the morning is the best time. It’s cool, the sun’s warmth is welcome, the emerging light colors everything beautifully. When I was teaching, I hated the fact that I had to rise early in the summer. I’d spent all year getting up at the crack of dawn, I wanted to sleep in during vacation. But you can’t, you’ll waste the day.

At night when the sun drops below the mountains it cools off and you can be outside again. But it doesn’t get dark when it should, it gets dark an hour later. Bullshit, I say. That’s perfectly good dark time being wasted. I used to be in an astronomy club and the editor of the newsletter would call DST “Darkness Squandering Time” and I can’t do better. That’s it exactly. Other than the liberal use of air conditioning the only way I can tolerate the damn summer heat around here is to take advantage of the dark.

When the moon’s out on a summer evening and you can listen to a ballgame and sip some bourbon and see everything illuminated around you in that soft light you feel like life is pretty good. And the nights when the moon is down you can look up and see the stars and the planets and think about how big it all is and how small you are and that every moment is more beautiful than the next.

Then it’s 104ºF the next day and some of that joie de vivre wears off, but that’s why Mitsubishi invented Mr. Slim. Seriously, this is some bad-ass technology! Thank you, nameless engineers, for fashioning this device, it allows me to survive the long summer.

So, to sum up, I’m a heat and sun wimp. But I live in a hot and sunny place. This is my 29th summer in this spot, you’d think I’d have figured it all out by now. But no, still muddling along!

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