Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Is Icumen In...

After a number of half-hearted false starts, and a lovely, long rainy spring, summer seems at last to have come to the mountains, with its golden abundance of hot, California sun. The sky is a dazzling infinity of blue. The pine trees are living, verdant flames. The clouds - if clouds there ever are - are great, billowing masses, bleached whiter than snow, and so full of light, that there is no shadow upon them, merely valleys of lesser brilliance. The smell of summer is here, the heavy incense of sun-warmed pine, and the waterful scent of newly mown lawn. The majority of the population are winter-wearied, and welcoming in the summer with wild exultation.

I am not one of them. Aside from the undeniable beauty of the season, I must admit that I do not see the appeal of summer. There is the heat, to begin with. Admittedly, here in the mountains, the heat is not so oppressive as it is in the rest of the state. Still, there is a certain burning edge to the sun that I find intolerable. It seems to sit upon me, like a malevolent presence. I wilt and droop and long for rain. The house gradually warms up, so that by the end of the day, it is far too stifling to sit indoors. However, if I decide to go out into the lovely cool of the evening, then there are the mosquitoes to reckon with. They are legion. They do not attack all at once, but take turns rushing in on me, and biting where I least expect it. Eventually, the frustration of slapping at them every few minutes drives me back inside, to the muggy atmosphere, where the fans, going full tilt, are attempting to stir some freshness into that unreasonably stagnant air.

Furthermore, summer in the mountains - especially the early part of the summer, when the first heat comes - brings that yellow plague: the pollen. The pine trees are pollinating, and the air is thick with a fine, sticky yellow dust. It goes everywhere. A newly-washed car will look like an abandoned derelict within mere hours. It sifts through screens and even the most obsessive neat-nick will be unable to keep the house looking fresh and polished. There is a long, yellow bank of the stuff floating along the shoreline of the lake. Those who are allergic to it are unbelievably miserable, and even those who are not suffer from dry eyes and a scratchy throat from breathing it in, day after day. It goes away, eventually, as do all crosses, no matter how eternal they seem, but it takes a while. A good rain helps, but good rains are rare in California during the summer. Oh, and I do long for it! For the freshness that it brings, and the smell of it, and the wet, cool touch of it. I dreamt about it on the first hot day of of the year: of a great, gusting wind and fat, wet drops, falling with a heavy, deliberate splash.

Furthermore, I find the long, glorious succession of perfect, sunny days to be dreadfully boring. I like a bit of drama in my weather. I like there to be some play between sun and cloud, and the shift of persepective it causes in the landscape. I like wind, and the stronger the better. I like lightening and thunder and snow and fog. My eyes grow tired of the bright, brilliant colours of summer, and would have the rest of a soft, grey day. I look forward to autumn, the way most people wait for spring, when I shall be delivered from the monotany of beautiful weather.

1 comment:

Molly said...

(And beautifully written, by the way!)