Just like that – you blink, and the summer is over.
Had it been an ordinary or typical summer we wouldn’t have been wishing it away as many of us were doing. The final relief from the draconian COVID restrictions of the previous winter and spring were just behind us when once again they began their constricting of our lives just as falling autumn temperatures were on the horizon. The high temperatures of summer had us cursing the drone of our air conditioning systems but not a one of us was willing to turn them off. The high utility bills were just a cost of being comfortable indoors as it was just too hot to be outside for very long. If being outside more was one way of limiting our exposure to COVID-19, the heat keeping us inside more had a tendency to take away that advantage. Now as school is back in session the COVID curse is once again on our doorstep.
I looked at my list of summer projects that was put to paper in May only to find that almost none of them had been completed. Who wants to be out in the sun when its 100 degrees outside? Certainly not me. Sadly, this leaves more to do as autumn begins. With so much to do I would not be surprised if we ended up with an early winter, beginning with October snow just like we experienced in 2014. That year the snow came early and completely destroyed any hope of a short winter or beautiful fall foliage. Our leaves simply turned brown and fell off the trees. Don’t get me wrong, I do love winter, just not a winter that starts in October and ends in April. Three months is plenty for me to get my winter fun completed before turning on the April showers in early March.
One of the biggest disappointments of the summer happened just a few weeks ago as we attended the county fair. Everything about the event seemed to be as good or better than we have ever seen with one exception - there were no scones. I suppose that had I not allowed myself to think about those tasty treats all week it might not have been such a disappointment. I even told my wife that the only thing I wanted to eat at the fair was scones. The Aggie Ice cream booth that occupied the scone booth might have been a worthy substitute, but I had built up such an expectation about scones, nothing else could satisfy my craving. I ended up with teriyaki chicken served in half a pineapple. It was unique but wasn’t as satisfying as a scone would have been.
One of the changes we are all looking forward to is clear, smoke free skies. I love living in Idaho because no matter where you are you can look at the horizon and you’ll see mountains. From as long ago as I can remember we had just a few days of smoky skies during the summer. This might have restricted our 100-mile vistas for a few days but before long a front would come through and would scour the smoke out of the valleys. This summer, as with the past few summers, took away clear skies and burdened us with summerlong smoky skies. This smoke not only burdened us with bad air, but it also spread across the nation to places that has rarely seen smoke from forest fires.
Sometimes I reflect back on the wonders of living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We spent a couple of years there in the 90’s and fell in love with the place. Last fall we returned to visit friends and the visit renewed our love of the place. Some of our friends in South Dakota posted pictures of what remained of their brand new fifth wheel trailer and cars after a late summer storm nearly destroyed all they held dear. One of the scary things about living in the mid-west is that the summer can produce huge thunderstorms that rain down huge softball sized hail. Nothing about the beauty of the Black Hills could replace the terror of hearing huge hail hit the roof of your new camper or the hood of your car while you are inside. Our friends three-month-old, $100,000 fifth wheel camp trailer might be a total loss and the huge dents and destroyed glass in their vehicles will likely make them junk as well. We don’t miss those horrible weather events.
Change happens regardless of whether we want it to happen or not. Our role in change is to put the best face on it that we can and learn to accept what it means to us. If a resurgence of COVID this fall means that I need to wear a mask, I’ll do it so others can be more protected from the virus. Wearing a mask isn’t my first preference, but if it helps others feel more secure and protected that’s enough of a reason for me to be slightly inconvenienced. Same was true of a COVID shot. Our household got vaccinated as soon as it was made available to us and if a booster is recommended we’ll do that too. That kind of change has more to do with the attitude I have about it than it does with the government telling me to do it. Others feel differently, but rather than attack them for having a different attitude about it I’ll just move forward hoping we all stay healthy.