I just got back from Arizona where it was both a pleasure and a relief to hike without snowshoes, pat green plants and feel the sun on my bare skin. The severity of this winter in Massachusetts was grinding and I didn’t even realize how beaten down (and weird) I was becoming until Richie and I left it. After a few days of hiking in the stupendously gorgeous red rocks of Sedona, my paranoia about what Mother Nature was planning to inflict next dissolved and my sense of confidence, not to mention perspective, reinstated itself.
We watched hummingbirds flit amongst the cacti and, at an outdoor café, laughed when magpie stole a packet of sugar off a table, then ate it in the nearby tree with sparrows scarfing up the leavings. I picked up a lemon that was on the sidewalk. A lemon! On the sidewalk! Fallen from a tree, just growing there!
Naturally, after a few days of this Eden, my thoughts turned to the people who winter down here—snowbirds, the ones we hardy New Englanders like to scoff at.
I scoff no more. Now I think they’re onto something. And what’s more, I’m starting to think that RV’ers are also onto something. We stopped at Whitewater Draw, a spot in the desert near Bisbee where Sandhill cranes gather. Next to the oasis, a sign at a dirt parking lot informed us we could camp there for free for up to three days. A few RV’s were already parked. How cool is that? You drive your home around the country, park places, plant out the pink flamingoes and lawn chairs, watch the cranes come and go in the sunrise and sunset.
I remember talking to Dario Pegoretti at an early NAHBS when we were both taking breaks, and we jokingly planned a commune in New Mexico with all our frame-building friends. The idea still appeals to me, only now it would be RV’s. We could all drive around in our RV’s, park together in a wagon-train circle, ride bikes (for the cyclists), have a writing prompt session or two (for the writers) and generally have a ducky time avoiding winter.
What do you think? Am I just getting old or is this a ReVolution?
I was talking on the phone the other day to an old friend –the kind of old friend you can admit anything to—and I let slip that I really didn’t like high summer that much. My friend agreed. I was surprised, since I’d expected that saying I don’t like high summer is tantamount to being a traitor to human-dom.
I once read that extroverts recharge by being with other people and introverts recharge by being alone. Within that definition, I am an introvert. Being around human activity wears me out. And summertime—mid-August in particular—is bursting with human activity. People are desperately on vacation. The roads are crowded with vehicles loaded to the gills with pods and bike racks. Vacation spots are crowded–even my pond gets busy.
All this frantic desire to have a good time in the one or two weeks of allotted vacation time—a desire that often results in a great deal of loudness and pushiness—is in contrast to what is happening in nature.
In nature, high summer is a languid time—drowsy and sated. The broods are raised, the fruit is fruiting and things are going to seed. It is a time of rest and recovery. It is a time of peaceful ease. Yes, the natural world does have a loud and pushy time of year, but it is not August; it is spring.
I suppose it is my sense of this screeching against the natural order of things, like a train off its rails, that is at the root of my aversion to high summer. I want it to be a time of rest, but it rarely is.
Come September though, with its wine sweetness of fall days, people drift back to their homes and their routines. Things shift and settle into their natural track once again and introverts like me breathe deeply, welcoming the quiet, full days.