Swelter Skelter

June. July. August. They are the best of times; they are the worst of times…because they are summer. The best of times because there is time off (theoretically) from work or school, best because the fruits and vegetables we love are in season. They are the best of times because there are cookouts, fun gatherings with family and friends, swimming, outdoor movie nights, and all other manner of fun times to be had.

Then there is the flip side: the worst of times. Humidity. Bugs. Heat so stifling you feel like you’re even breathing differently. Humidity. The kind of weather that makes you feel like you need a shower as soon as you walk out the door in the morning, even if you just HAD a shower. Humidity. There are clothing issues, hair issues (I’m looking at you, curly haired sisters), and makeup issues (if you’re ambitious enough to even bother with it this time of year). And did I mention humidity?

It’s times like these when a lot of people who are complaining about the heat, and lamenting the sheer torture of it, forget about all the griping going on when it’s cold outside. Snow, ice, canceled school, emergency grocery store runs, all these that result in fist shaking, eye rolling, and the moans and groans that always follow a news weather forecast in the winter months. Complain when it’s hot, complain when it’s cold.

I am not one of those people. During the hot summer months, I will gripe with the best of them, but when the temperature starts to go down after August is over (if we survive August…and we usually do), things start looking up. I start imagining sweaters and boots and cute hats. Visits to the pumpkin patch, hot drinks, football games, crisp breezes with pretty colored leaves. Thanksgiving, Christmas (yeah, I know it’s hard to even imagine), a new year, and then, sometime in late January (hopefully)…snow. The first snow is always exciting. It’s light, it’s pretty, it’s unassuming (usually), and it’s just plain happy. For a lot of people, and since most people prefer warmer weather, it might be safe to say for most people, the novelty of snowfall wears off quickly: the snow turns to gray slush, and people get tired of school delays, weird traffic patterns, an unpleasant break in routine, and ridiculous grocery store experiences. I get it. Those things are undesirable, but I take the opportunity during this most precious of months, September, when the temperature is still hot, but not miserable, to appeal to the memory of the not too distant past that is (that was) the sweltering summer of the south, and look ahead to the good things to come. Even if those good things come in the form of Christmas decorations in October (seriously?!), never knowing what clothes to put on in the morning, or not even bothering with the weather forecast because every day could be a toss-up. Silver linings come with perspective, and every season’s end is another season’s beginning…with a new year attached to it! Embrace it if you can, ride it out if you must.

There are good things to be had every season of the year; good things to look forward to, good things to put aside for next year, good things to be newly experienced this time around. Enjoyable weather is always relative, a personal preference for a variety of reasons. But I think it’s important to have a longer memory where the seasons are concerned. And living in the south should probably give us a better appreciation of how lucky we can be to experience every season individually, no matter how short it may seem (or how short it actually is). Find the joy (and shade) where you can, get out there and enjoy it (or stay in and enjoy it), and know that no matter how hot it is, or how cold it is, that, too, shall pass.