After we made pancakes and bid farewell to our friends that visited this weekend, we let Claire run around the dewy grass in her pajamas (at her very loud insistence) while we stared dumbfounded at each other because dude, it did not feel horrible to be outside. It is not a furnace. It is not like standing in front of a hair dryer. It was cool, breezy and downright pleasant.
We came inside and pushed open the first-floor windows and felt the refreshing and cool breeze waft through the house. I could hear the lawnmowers and birds (geese, even!) and the leaves on the live oak tree next door rustle and sway. It had been a long time since I'd listened to the neighborhood. I've spent the past few months actively avoiding the outdoors and here I was now, welcoming it into my home.
It is so fantastic to feel like it's okay to go outside again. Sometimes I think that Texans get a sort of reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. The summer can be so brutally unpleasant and suffocating with overnight lows that remain in the 90s, humidity that soars past 80% and weeks and weeks of 100+ degree days. It feels like there's no break and like it might never end. It is hot and suffocating twenty-four hours a day for MONTHS. It can often remain hot until October. It makes me hide inside and steers me off of the most mundane of activities, like going to the grocery store because I would have to walk in a parking lot to do that and it will be a million degrees and NO THANKS we'll have cereal tonight. It might be sunny and gorgeous out but we are staying inside all summer because it is just too hot. It is too hot to go to the pool even because I just BAKE on the cement and since it never gets cool at night the pool stays hot and is just barely more refreshing than a lukewarm bathtub. I spend a lot of time in the summer just trying to avoid sweating while keeping the AC set to an affordable level.
This cool weather is so different. It is so welcoming. It is "let's go get some nachos on a patio" weather. It is evenings of "let's take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner." It feels like a world of activities are suddenly options to us again. I have even allowed myself to consider taking Claire to an outdoor playground instead of Chick-fil-A, which is where we've been camped out all summer. The slides at outdoor playgrounds are way too hot in June, July and August. They burn little legs.
I think what is most insulting to me is that our crap summer does not come with a side of Awesome, like other places have with their versions of crap weather.
Snow is a giant pain in the ass to shovel, and it gets dirty and slushy fast, but at least it's pretty while it's falling and in the mornings when it's undisturbed. You can't gaze at Hot while it's beating down on you mid-day. You don't take pictures of Hot and put them in your Christmas cards. You can't play with Hot.
Or those of you in the Pacific Northwest where it rains so much? At least you have mountains close by. Mountains are pretty. You can also drive up a mountain and it gets colder, like some magic trick of the most amazing sort. Here's it's just flat and wide and it goes on for miles and there's a reason settlers called the middle of the country The Great Plains. There are no geographic features to look at, meditate on or climb that make the heat escapable or tolerable.
Those of you in Florida, poor Florida, with the hurricanes and humidity and constant stream of political ads trashing up your televisions, the hurricanes are horrible but at least there's a beach close by all of the other days of the year and you never, ever have to wear a heavy jacket.
Most of you in California can bite me. (Earthquakes are not a meteorological event.)
It's not even that I want to move somewhere else or that I really think *everyone* has it better than we do. It's just that summer is so particularly awful on the thermometer where I live and I hate it. From where I sit there's not much to look forward to as the season changes from spring to summer.
So, you can see why I was delighted to learn yesterday that fall is here, finally, after a very long summer indoors with a toddler. It feels like the pause button had been finally been let go and we're free to enjoy the fresh air now.