When I pulled into the beach lot last week to parking spaces filled two rows back, and looked out to bright umbrellas and clumps of toddlers rushing into the water, it was as if someone had snatched me up and delivered me far south, to Georgia, perhaps, or even Florida.
I’m afraid that blogging about the weather demonstrates a dreary lack of imagination. Even as I type these words, I’m saying to myself: “Can’t you do any better, Liza?” but I wish I could explain to those not from New England what it is like to experience a weather reprieve.
Yes, the calendar has just flipped to spring, but here in Massachusetts, most years that means, well, nothing. Far into April we dress in our woolies, wear boots, cross our fingers and hope for stretches like we experienced last week, in about two months’ time. We know—we just know what can happen—so our snow blowers and shovels remain parked at the ready until mid-April. Even then, we put them away with a twinge of worry that doing so will guarantee a late season blizzard. We never, ever expect a bounty like one we received last week—temperatures in the mid 70’s to 80’s for six days. There were no leaves on the trees, for gosh sakes.
So, when the weather heated up, we skipped our chores, pulled out the beach towels, stepped into bathing suits and stopped at the ice cream parlor before burrowing winter white toes into the warm sand—because we were obliged to. It’s still March and the weather was a million dollar bonus that arrived with a ticking time clock. We know, here in New England, how to appreciate a gift.
Sitting on a boulder at the edge of the beach on Thursday, I closed my eyes and channeled summer in the squeals of the kids in the frigid water, the quiet lap of the placid waves, the breeze tugging at the hair curling below my baseball cap. A string of little girls excused themselves politely as they hopped the boulders lining the back of the beach, stepping carefully around the flip-flops I’d parked on the rock in front of me. Seagulls, as bold as they are mid-summer, dove for scraps of food from unattended bags. Laughter and weightlessness surrounded me, a collective exhale after the release of a long held burden.
And, then, as we knew it would, the alarm clock sounded.
Our skin, our bones, and everything at the heart of things felt the slightest bit lighter when we yanked on our fleece coats and returned to life as normal, once the weekend the temperatures dropped back to a seasonal mid 40’s.