Friday, June 22, 2012

Perfect timing: Heat and vacation

It seems so improbable, the timing of this week’s heat wave. The coincidence of weather and school scheduling just felt almost too perfect.

But there it was, as if orchestrated by a film director. Since June, the weather has been mild and pleasant, mostly dry, occasionally rainy, but never hot. Perfect weather for wrapping up the school year, I commented several times throughout the past three weeks: cool weather kept the kids as focused as they could be during the final days of the term, and made it easier for me to persist not only through work deadlines but through the kind of housekeeping tasks I wanted to accomplish before the kids were out of school.

That’s how it stayed right through Tuesday, their last day of the term. Then on Wednesday, the first day without school, temperatures in the 90s bloomed, and stayed the next day and into today. Ever since school vacation began, it’s been hot. Not just sunny and warm but heat-wave hot.

Which, as I say, seems almost improbably perfect. On Wednesday, Tim went to the beach with friends on a long-planned trip; they couldn’t have had a better day for it. I took Holly and her friend Samantha swimming at the pond where we have a summer membership, our first visit of the year. In the evening, we worked at our town’s Strawberry Festival. The air stayed hot well past sunset, and the same the following day.

Normally, temperatures in the 90s can be hard to take, especially day after day, and especially because New England heat tends to bring humidity along with it. We wilt; we feel unmotivated; we get cranky.

But not these past few days. Now it just seems so fitting: it’s the start of vacation, and everyone is enjoying the heat. Holly and I sat in the shade on the library lawn reading despite the pervasive warmth yesterday afternoon; Tim went to a friend’s pool and then played evening baseball. Last night, on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the temperatures were still in the 80s as the light seeped out of the sky at nine o’clock.

Eventually we’ll tire of the heat, if it stays much longer. Tim will start to drag on the baseball field; I’ll have trouble finding motivation for my daily run. We might even get a little cranky. But at this point, it’s a perfect start to summer. I’m not sure whether to explain the timing as a theological or meteorological phenomenon. But for now, we’ll keep basking in it. School is over for the year, and if you venture just a step or two beyond the crisply air-conditioned house, there’s no question that it’s summer.

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