“You’ve certainly had good weather,” people keep telling us. They say this almost resentfully, as if we do not appreciate the honor being conferred, could never understand the rarity of a full eight days of cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the midseventies, in coastal Maine, in early July.
The weather forecasts have been equally dour. Don’t get your hopes up, they seem to say. Each morning, the icon on my phone will show a sun cautiously peeping out from behind a cloud. If the forecast must admit to the possibility of sunshine, it does so reluctantly: Yes, it is fair now (say the icons) but at three P.M., there will be a cloud. Not three? Four. Five, then. Certainly by six. Well, anyway, sunset is at seven, so then your fun’s over. Never once has that cloud departed from the screen, even as the skies have stayed stubbornly blue.
I don’t care; nothing can dim my excitement. I have not gone on “vacation” in many years. I am not sure how to do it, although I have notions. I read E. B. White and The Lobster Gangs of Maine in preparation. Streamed Stephen King adaptations. Isn’t that what you do? Thus warned, I came braced for a range of weathers. I packed slickers and boots and ghost stories. (Puzzles, I was told, the house already had.) I privately harbored gingerbread-related plans.
Instead, the aggressive, unflagging beauty began to feel vaguely tyrannical: it seemed an act of gods-tempting hubris to miss a single moment of potential hiking or swimming or general beauty-celebrating. We did not take our luck for granted; to the contrary, each day, when I set out for a walk or a ride on the bicycle I was borrowing, I tried to give a little ecumenical prayer of thanks.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(Maybe not ecumenical, exactly, since Cummings was Unitarian.) Once, some people carrying racquets heard me, which was embarrassing. I’m sure they could tell, too, that I can’t play a decent game of tennis.
Then finally, today, the “good” weather broke. It was something of a relief. They don’t call it high-pressure for nothing. The fog did not burn off this morning, but instead settled low over the mountains; the rain patters down and occasionally lightens to a mist.
But I regret to inform you that, for those of us just passing through, it is still beautiful and novel and rare. Or maybe people really do just like to talk about the weather?