Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Saw Real Summer, I Swear

There is such a thing as summer; I’m not making it up. I mean real summer and not the hot, wet, still, cloudy, grumpy-thunder kind that we’ve been having in the northeast this June and July.

I finally found it at 6:57 a.m. July 12. I woke up in our friend’s house, looked up through the skylight, which might be a little annoying to some at 6:57 a.m. on another morning, but not to me on this morning.

I saw a blue sky. If you say, “big deal,” you obviously haven’t been spending time around New York City recently. The blue wasn’t just peeking through gray clouds, and it wasn’t surrounded by haze from high humidity; it filled the frame. I could feel the fresh air coming in through the open skylight and this thing called an open window; open is what some people do with a window, when their air conditioning isn’t running on high 24/7. Amazing, but true.

This was really fresh air with a taste of the sea on it to boot, which makes sense, since we were on an island, Down East, as they say.

The day before my discovery, on our journey here, and I’m not making this up either, the temperature gauge on our Volvo C30 dashboard did not make it to 80’F, not even in the first hour it took to drive from Exit 3 on US95 to Exit 5, which usually takes about four minutes.

An early morning thunder storm (gee, what a surprise) and heavy rain must have softened a slope of earth near Riverside CT, because a tree fell from it onto US95, hit the cab of a passing truck during rush hour and closed two lanes. So, our first four minutes of the journey took an hour and we had to reset our journey clock and then we drove and drove north and east and north again then down east. Luckily, there were no kids in the back to ask, “Are we there yet?” We drove and talked about all the stuff we don't talk about at home for eight more hours. I have a feeling that both the high divorce rate and most long marriages may be directly related to long motor journeys.

We stopped in Yarmouth ME and I dove into a plate-sized harbor full of fried clams on a white flour roll with tarter sauce and waves of vinegar upon it and drank a lemonade that had sugar in it. You know what? I survived. Don’t tell Bloomberg; he won’t believe it. 

On the mail-boat to Little Cranberry Island that we caught in Northeast Harbor, a woman put on a Breton striped sweater. I hadn’t seen a sweater on anyone outdoors in weeks, although I have seen them on people indoors, freezing from arctic air conditioning. It may have been a cotton sweater, but still.

I can see the island’s harbor now from where I’m sitting on the porch and can see Mount Desert Island beyond it. The air is stunningly clear and clean. It’s midday, the sun is shining brightly amid whisps of clouds and it is unmistakably summer here. Real summer. Tomorrow's forecast promises the same.

A man just rode by on a bicycle and he wore an outer shirt over a T-shirt and he was not too hot and he wasn’t racing to beat any thunder and lightning and he did not get drenched, and by all outward appearances he was thoroughly enjoying himself, outside, in summer, in the middle of the day.

I saw it right here. Islesford, Little Cranberry Island, Maine. I swear.

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