Summer expectations

4th of July - 107.07.19

I had a friend, many years ago, who loved to annoy us by pointing out that come the 4th of July, the year was now more than half over.  Consequently, it has always felt quite reasonable to expect to be in full summer mode on the 4th of July;  though, when it’s not, we all talk about how it never used to be summer weather this early in many places we remember from our past.  While we did sail, kayak, picnic, campfire, and swim (the twenty-somethings), it was cool and rainy here at the lake over the 4th, and the furnace kicked on every morning in the house.  For the past two nights, we’ve had nocturnal thunderstorms, which truly can feel like being kicked in the pants when we try to sleep.   The meteorologists appear to have forsaken all optimism in their forecasts.  This morning, they write:

Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Missoula MT 332 AM MDT Sun Jul 7 2019 .DISCUSSION…Nocturnal thunderstorms last night have continued into this morning across northwest Montana and parts of west central Montana. There may be a brief period today where the Northern Rockies do not have storms, but that window of time will be brief. More thunderstorms are anticipated to form through the day across both north central Idaho and western Montana, and will be sporadic and quick to form and strengthen. Like yesterday, hail and heavy rain will be the greatest threats from storms. Gusty winds and lightning are also likely as well. If you have any type of outdoor plans today, please keep an eye to the sky and stay abreast of the latest storm development. Storms will once again persist into the overnight hours, lasting through Monday as well.

As the old sailing quote goes, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  I go through all these states of mind in a single day.  Whatever the weather, however, the days of summer are long on daylight, and when I watch that golden ball of sun slide down beneath the rain clouds and slip into the lake, it feels like the morning was so long ago, and when I think back to how the day has gone, I remember all the ways it was summer–the morning walk as singing robins flicked water from the sweet-scented leaves; a two hour sun break when I hung sheets on the line; reading a book on the covered porch while it lightly rained.  I guess that’s adjusting my sails, but, perhaps, like Philip Larkin’s mother, I am holding up each summer day and shaking it out suspiciously….

Mother, Summer, I (Philip Larkin)
My mother, who hates thunder storms,
Holds up each summer day and shakes
It out suspiciously, lest swarms
Of grape-dark clouds are lurking there;
But when the August weather breaks
And rains begin, and brittle frost
Sharpens the bird-abandoned air,
Her worried summer look is lost, And I her son, though summer-born
And summer-loving, none the less
Am easier when the leaves are gone
Too often summer days appear
Emblems of perfect happiness
I can’t confront: I must await
A time less bold, less rich, less clear:
An autumn more appropriate.

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