Bring Back Those Sunny Days
[What follows is Sunday's Rough Draft column, in toto. To be read in a hammock, when we are no longer in the soup. I am tired of the soup. Years ago in Why Things Are, the Why staff brilliantly explained that one's attitude toward the weather depends upon its novelty. What we like are changes in the weather, something fresh and different; what we can't stand are long stretches of the same dang oppressive stuff. This is why sometimes a cloudburst can be lovely, and even, briefly, an immersion into tropical humidity, or a morning so gray and shadowless that it soothes the nerves -- and why, after something like 8 consecutive days of Life In the Swamp, enduring weather that could only be adored by the Creature from the Black Lagoon, we are miserable. I will try to dig up that old WTA column.] [Also I will soon blog about blogs, since a blogger will be shot if he or she goes an entire day without pondering the state of BlogWorld; I may throw in something about what a stud Tiger is, and may get wistful and poignant and reflective and sort of gooey-philosophical about taking a child to sleepaway camp.]
You could make a case for any of the seasons.
You could argue that autumn is the most evocative, that its palette is the most pleasing to the eye. Autumn is the only season in which the air is described as having a snap. Autumn has the bounty of the harvest, and that great American holiday, Oktoberfest.
Winter has sledding, skiing, ice skating, hiking through snowy woods, playing hockey on a frozen pond, roasting chestnuts on an open fire -- all that vintage American stuff you would surely do if you weren't holed up in the TV room watching sports and checking the online air fares to Florida.
Worse, summer is so dull that even C-SPAN is mostly reruns. And so on: It's a drab, sticky, hazy, boring season from beginning to end. And yet -- here's the strangest thing of all -- it's also clearly, obviously, indisputably the best season. Easy winner of the competition. Give me summer, and you can have the whole package of fall, winter and spring.
What summer has is time. You don't feel so rushed. A summer day swings in a hammock, loiters on the porch. A summer day just can't be bothered with a lot of things that seem important the rest of the year, like shoes. Even a grown-up many years removed from school still feels a certain entitlement to freedom in summertime. At my office, an editor will occasionally suggest that I write a story, and I'll just say, "But it's July."
July 18, 2005; 6:58 AM ET
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