There's nothing quite like being in upstate New York in high summer. Grass is a fading green and roadsides are peppered with daylilies and Queen Anne's Lace. Mornings I sit on my porch and sip coffee, enjoying my petunia baskets and a not-quite-warm breeze. Evenings are intoxicatingly cool. I have a fan spinning in the window though it isn't necessary. Even in August I'm tucked under quilts as I drift into sleep. Harry the dog snuggles down by my feet, buried beneath blankets that people due south can't imagine needing.
I've been talking to my southern friends this week who are wilting under blistering temperatures. My friend Liz reported yesterday that in northeast Arkansas it was 107 degrees. Here (I bragged) it was 62 and raining. My friend Gloria in Tennessee is sweltering in an office whose air conditioner fails daily. I once lived "down there" and remember well the dreadful heat. The rub, in the north, is snow in February. But I'll take snow and ice over 100+ on the thermometer. I'm a northern girl, a soul who relates to fireplaces and hot brews. And in August, when sweat drips from the chins of my poor friends south, I have no need for a window unit. This is what summer should be: warm by day, cool at night, sunny; ripe tomatoes on the vine, flower-filled afternoons, and with an occasional shower. Bliss!
Last weekend I attended a party on a nearby lake. In attendance were old friends. We barbecued, canoed, reminisced. We built a fire and looked out at a body of water where Canada geese returned at twilight. Later, we star-gazed. The milky way was there, along with the big dipper and, according to one friend, the summer triangle. Another friend reported seeing a comet streaking by. The sky was a portrait of lights.
How, I wonder, did I ever live anywhere else?
In a few short months fat snowflakes will fall and collect in my driveway. I promise not to complain. The stock market faltered today, another "correction" they say. I don't think I care. I think now, in my fifth decade, I'm more interested in what's happening outside my windows. As another friend once said, a friend who was taken too soon years ago, life is good. He was right. Life is not about Wall Street, it's about cool summer breezes and stars and geese sailing onto a quiet lake. Life is about my peaceful porch late at night, and mourning doves, and the crow I watched patter across my yard early one morning. Life is my sighing dog at my feet, calm and innocent. And friends who have been near this week.
Indeed, life is good, here this summer in a small place I call home.