By Lisa Sugarman
I feel bad. Actually, I feel like I owe you an apology.
Not because I personally did anything wrong, but because I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and I don’t like it when people are unhappy. Even if I’m not the one making you upset. (Must be the Jewish mother in me. Just can’t help myself.)
I can sense that you’re not quite your usual bubbly, happy self. And I know that because I haven’t been my usual cheery, effervescent self either. And even though I have absolutely no influence or control over why we’re all having such a tough time, I feel like the least I can do is offer you an apology and some positive, inspirational thoughts. Because apologies can take the edge of most anything, and inspirational thoughts are, well, inspirational.
I want to help you keep your mind in a healthy place and ensure that we make it through this dark time we’re all stuck in. The dark time being the dank, grey crawlspace that lies between spring and summer. You know, the place you can’t shimmy backwards out of or move forward through. And it’s been affecting me and my mood for sure, so I can only assume that it’s been affecting you and yours, too.
Like you, I’m acutely aware that we haven’t made much progress moving from spring to summer. I mean, there have been baby steps, like the grass turning green, the birds coming back, and the flowers blooming. And God knows Dave’s allergies have been epic. But even in spite of these telltale signs, we’re all still forced to choose closed-toed shoes and use our heated seats most days when we should be fully into our flip flops and board shorts by now. It being the first week of June and all.
It’s like we’re in one of those movie hallways that just keeps getting longer and longer and never seems to end. Sometimes we feel the warmth and see glimpses of the summer to come—but we just can’t seem to move any closer to end of the hallway.
We’re fully into June, yet most of us are still sitting on the sidelines at soccer games and track meets and lacrosse games wearing Uggs, long puffy coats, and wishing we had one of those old-fashioned red miner’s union suits on underneath. (They’re freakishly warm, by the way, and I highly recommend one as long as you can keep the flap over your tush buttoned.)
Look, I know it’s tough to open our closets day after day after day, during what’s supposed to be late spring, and look at our cute summer skater skirts and crop tops and chambray shirts and then have to reach for our Dicky turtleneck and corduroys. It’s not easy when all anyone’s doing is Jonesing for the weather to finally break and it doesn’t. When we desperately want people to know that our toenails are meticulously pedicured and flawlessly painted and no one can see them inside our Danskos. It’s a waste and it’s discouraging, I know.
But summer will come. Summer always comes. We just have to suck it up and tough it out.
Because we all know that eventually the weather will break and the temperature will rise and people will be able to admire the Spin the Bottle pink on your toes and your new Callaway Big Bertha driver. I know it’s hard to be patient. I know it’s hard to get a few 70-degree, sunny days out of an entire spring and be left feeling cheated and chilled to the bone. But we just have to have faith in the Almanac. Because the Old Farmer’s Almanac doesn’t lie. There’s never been a year without a summer. And even though the changing of the seasons isn’t an exact science in the way we all wish it was, it’s still relatively dependable.
I know it feels like Mother Nature is standing up there dangling summer on the end of a rope over our heads and yanking it up juuuuuust as we get close enough to grab it. But we also know that She has a lot of time on her hands and even She gets bored and needs to entertain herself. Which, unfortunately, She does at our expense.
That’s why I say let her play her little games until she tires herself out. Because we all know she’ll be out of a job if she doesn’t pony up some real summer soon. So we need to just wait her out. Let her have her fun and then we can have ours. All summer long. Let her think she’s still in control and then, eventually, she’ll get so bored that she’ll have to flip the switch and change the seasons once and for all. And then we’re golden.
Let’s be honest, this is nothing we’re all not used to. We can’t forget where we live. This is not Fargo and it’s certainly not Fort Lauderdale. It’s somewhere comfortably in between. A place where we get a mixture of everything in fairly equal quantities.
We’ve got four distinctly different seasons to cycle through and it’s not always an easy transition. That’s just fact. Sometimes we get lucky and everything happens like clockwork. But most of the time it doesn’t and it feels like we’ve somehow been cheated. Like somehow we bypassed a season altogether. But then, almost without warning, when we’re looking the other way, the clouds part, the warm summer days appear, and before long we’re begging for some rain because the heat is turning the grass brown. It’s the old be-careful-what-you-wish-for.
So my plan is to just keep my head down, focus on the bright white of my new Dr. Scholl’s, and ignore the goosebumps covering my frozen little legs. I’m keeping my eye on the prize because I feel supremely confident that this too shall pass and we’ll be in our little Coppertone heaven before we can say, “Life’s a beach.” You might try doing the same.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.