Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Summer Boy

Here in the north, sunlight quickly evaporates into darkness at this time of the year. Now that the clocks have been set back darkness settles in by 5 pm, and the days are still getting shorter.

The leaves are now off of the trees and travel about at the whim of the wind. Rake your yard at your peril; tomorrow the leaves could be blown right back. This time of the year the flowers have been killed off by frost. Its a time of the year when color is banished, the emotional equivalent of sitting in the dark and watching an old black and white movie that you've seen too many times before. Here in the north, when the snow comes, it comes to stay for a long time. Soon the snow will fly.

Here in the north, a sense of inevitability sets in at this time of the year. All of the hard work we did in our yard during the summer must begin again in the spring. The coming of the snow is inevitable, and with it comes the inevitable but necessary physical exertion to move it about. Like the leaves, the snow moves at the whimsy of the wind; shovel it today, and then shovel it tomorrow. The bitter cold temperatures are not far off, and inevitably bring the scraping of car windshields and the jumping of car batteries.

This time of the year can be melancholy. The transition from fall to winter is hard on my kids, especially the oldest boy. He does so like to wear shorts. He reminds me frequently, "I'm a summer boy, not a winter boy." Try as I might to create an exciting seasonal picture for him of downhill sledding and sleigh rides, skiing and ice fishing, at this time of the year the proposed excitement falls of deaf ears. We resist the coming of winter, holding out for the possibility of one more warm day in much the same way that we root for the rally of a losing sports team. We resist winter until it is totally and completely upon us.

The arrival of winter is not as difficult as the anticipation of winter, at least to me. The transition from color to no color, from warm to cold, from outside to inside, from day to night, from shorts to long pants, is difficult at first. But soon the anticipation of spring will set in and that will help pull us through the coldest days of the winter.

Spring is coming, we will say to ourselves. It won't be much longer now.

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