It’s officially Summer here at the Aalto household. How can I be so certain, you ask? Well, first of all, it’s finally becoming necessary to turn on the sprinklers for the lawn. This has to be one of several indisputable signs that Summer is finally here, right? And the funny thing is that with just four days in a row of sun there are sections of the lawn already turning brown. It’s puzzling to me that 90 plus days of nothing but rain aren’t enough to guarantee an entire Summer worth of verdant, green grass. I feel cheated.
Second, this weekend was the first of many outdoor swim meets. For the last three years, we have been going to outdoor meets with a mixed bag of results – sometimes it’s a great experience and sometimes an absolute disaster. As long as the weather is nice, it’s a blast. But when it rains? It’s better to stay at home. And Sunday was a perfect day – not a cloud in the sky. Yesterday I looked across at my wife and started imagining we were in some exotic locale sitting around a pool as opposed to The Dalles, Oregon. I honestly had myself convinced. Throw in a couple drinks with umbrellas in them and the effect would have been complete.
Third, our calendar is becoming absolutely packed with things that are based on outdoor activities, most of which are fun. This year more than any in previous memory featured entire neighborhoods literally running outside to witness some hint, some spark, some small promise that Summer was finally truly here. On each of the nice days we had last week there were impromptu barbecues, excuses to share drinks with neighbors, again, hints at the promise of Summer.
When I was in high school I regularly read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine before the start of each Summer. In this collection of related short stories, the protagonist, a young boy not unlike myself at that time, would wake up and like a conductor, brandish an imaginary wand and start to conduct the first rituals of the Summer. A flick of the wrist “newspaper boy, deliver the paper,” “Mr. Anderson start the lawn mower,” “sprinklers come to life.” He was in tune of the comings and goings of his small town and the activities that would start the day. It’s a wonderful book.
Summer, we’re ready.