Thursday, August 14, 2014

The tarnishment


It happens every year around this time.

From May through July, we watch the world turn green, green, and greener. Then, abruptly, it not only stops turning but turns back around. You step outside one day, usually first week of August, and notice that the foliage looks . . . stale. Tarnished. Even though it is still, technically, green.

Once that’s caught your attention, you look more closely and realize there’s a lot of yellowing and browning going on among the wildflowers and gardens. As the season advances, different species come into bloom in vivid colors that last well into autumn; but around and between lies evidence of passing that it’s easy to deny.

Around the second week of August, you spot the first spear of red through the greenery backdrop. And that’s when you notice that it’s dark by 9:00 p.m. and no sunrise yet at 5:00 a.m. A full hour of daylight has disappeared!—and continues to do so at an accelerating rate.

Oh no!

Time to start preparing for winter!

But the snow only went away a few weeks ago!

This is the bummer of living in a northern climate. Summer is so wonderful—and so short. A wise neighbor once pointed out that our latitude in Vermont is the best place in the world to live because we get eight months of fabulous weather. Technically true, if you enjoy the outdoors. With the exception of a few sweaty days per year, we get unbroken weeks of temperatures ideal for physical activities. Temps in the 40s through 70s with mixed skies and precipitation are most comfortable for moving around.

For folks who like it hot and dry and bright—well, this is not the place to reside.

Liking a temperate climate three seasons a year does not mean we like that fourth one of cold and darkness. Winter is something to be endured unless you adore skiing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, showshoeing, sledding, ice fishing, skating, or ice racing. Even if that’s the case, you’re still limited in how many days the conditions cooperate.

For those of us who enjoy yard and garden work, and sports like camping/fishing/cycling/horse riding/hiking/cruising/boating—or just having all the windows open or sitting on the deck with a drink—the season is never long enough, and we’re always sad to see it close.

The tarnishment is our first sign that the clement days are numbered. And cue to make sure the firewood is laid in, the chimney cleaned, the winter tires still have tread, and anything that Absolutely Must Be Done before snow is taken care of.

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