Monday, September 20, 2010

Adieu, old friend

Good-bye my friend, Summer.

You’ve come and (nearly) gone, again. This was the 43rd time I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with you, and after last year’s late showing where we thought you were just a tease in fall’s clothing, it was good to have you back with some good full-blown, hot days and sticky nights.

Like road construction season and extra-long drives into work, you’ve always been there for us. Sometimes I find it unbelievable to hear people mutter the words ‘ah, it’s too hot out there.’ I’m not sure what planet they come from, but really, they should be sent back, parkas, touques and all. Do they not remember what winter is like and how long it can last? Ignore them all. They, like so many politicians and tv evangelists, are delusional and delirious for sure.

You’re an inspiration. You make us feel like hanging around and barbequing in the back yard, riding our bikes through the streets, and skipping out of work early on Fridays (and Thursdays, Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Mondays too). You heat up the interior of our cars to unbelievable temperatures, particularly on those days we have to wear grown-up clothes for client meetings, but we can forgive you for your playful and thorough nature. You’re just doing what you were meant to do, and having some fun.

You make our trees and grass grow, ensuring that we have something to on weekends, watering the plants and mowing the lawn. Sometimes you spend an entire day desperately trying to poke your nose through stubborn and unwanted clouds, but we know you’re there, waiting anxiously, with your UV rays and shadow-making abilities. You keep us outdoors and keep us from really bad tv summer programming. For that selfless act alone, we should be forever grateful. But if you’re the one who brought us Suzanne Summers, I think we should talk…

We were up at the very start of your days many times, but enjoyed your end-of-the-day shows even more, often at Lake Winnipeg, with your dramatic and spectacular colours. We usually weren’t alone – often there was us and a thousand of your friends – little hungry mosquitoes who never seem to miss a late evening show either - and then never seem to miss us on our quick trip back to our screened-in world.

You got us up at the crack of dawn and allowed us to do all the things we wanted to do in the evenings. You were our morning alarm clock and our gentle notice that it was time to go to bed and fall asleep, with a wonderful summer smile on our lips, once again.

It was fun having you around again. You gave us that feeling of warmth, but like a long-lost relative from the other side of the counry, we know it’s time you go away, bags packed, yet again.

Now it’s time for driving in the dark to work, driving home in the dark from work, all while wearing more clothes (at one time) than someone in, say, Hawaii, is likely to have in their entire closet. The fun has nearly gone - you’re nearly just another part of a collection of warm memories.

When you’re gone, we dream more. We dream of beaches and sand and warm breezes and we dream of not being able to see our breath as we quickly pass from the house to the cold and frozen car.

We’re less efficient at work when you’re gone. We spend the first hour there warming up from our painfully cold ride in, and then before the work day’s done, we prepare ourselves for the icy journey home in a car or bus where the heat won’t kick in until we’re just around the bend from being home.

We travel when we can to southern places that you seem to prefer October to April, spending thousands of dollars to walk in colourful shorts, order fancy drinks with fancy names, sit by man-made pools and to bring some resemblance of colour to our skin other than our usual winter shade. This gives us a coveted tan something to bring home and brag about for approximately five and a half days at our wintry homes before we crack and peel, becoming a healthy pale, once again (I think I heard one day at church that there was originally going to be an 11th commandment - ‘thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s tan,’ but being my usual sleepy self on an early Sunday morning, I think I might have misheard what was actually said).

So, be well, my friend. We’ll be more than ready to see you again after nine long and cold months. Have fun when you’re in places like Sydney, Buenos Aires and Ambatofinandrahana, Madagascar. I’d gladly challenge any of them to the idea that we don’t appreciate you and need you more than they do.

We won’t forget you, and we hope that you won’t forget us next year when it’s time to return. For all we care, come back early. Trust us, we’ll be ready!

Until then, with all respect and SPF 15,


P.S. About this global warming stuff and warmer winter temperatures…we know it’s really just you, giving us some much needed hope during some long and cold winters, but we don’t have to let David Suzuki or Al Gore know (consider it our little secret!).