Sigh. Another week gone by, another 5 days of productivity preceding 2 days of coming leisure, which will be largely spent in a drunken sugar-coma, interspersed with bursts of activity in the form of Frisbee golf or chasing the dog/cat/college guy away from the grill before the burgers are ready...
In other words, folks, it's summer time. And at least in this neck of the woods, summer means BBQ. Grilling out. Cooking out. Call it what you will, but once the mercury tops 60 round these parts, (okay, or 49 that one day back in late January) back doors fly open and a vast horde of humanity pours out into yards and onto stoops and porches and decks to embrace that most pure and holy of all summer experiences: the first BBQ.
I was contemplating this annual rite of seasonal passage from spring (or never ending, omnipresent winter in this valley) to summer and appreciating the general sense of lightness that accompanies it. I mean, summer comes every year in this hemisphere... pretty much around the same time. But looking around my neighborhood, you'd think every one of us stepped blinking into the light after 13 years of imprisonment in a coal mine or a work camp in upper Siberia, throwing up our arms across dazzled, blinded eyes and cringing as the first rays of sunlight hit pasty white flesh.
And then, blinking, you begin to adjust. You notice the sweeter smell in the air, the softer feel of the evening, prolonged by a reluctant sunset that backs further and further away from the dinner hour until suddenly you're sipping wine around a table of dirty dishes at 9pm. And it's fine. It doesn't matter that you've been unproductive and it's late and there's work in the morning. There's a thrill that has returned to the mere act of living, a delicious excitement that accompanies the feeling of possibility accompanying each new day.
It's like a little glimpse of heaven, a reminder that all suffering is ordered to an eventual paradisaical bliss where the cold and the pain and the hardship of this life will seem, according to St. Teresa of Avila, at worst, "no more than a short night in a bad hotel."
God is good to give us the changing of seasons, it keeps us sane, gives our faith a booster shot. Early summer particularly. What can convince you of the existence of a good and loving God more effectively than the gentle strains of Jack Johnson drifting from a radio somewhere inside the house while you sit deck side listening to the distant laughter of neighbor children and the clink of Corona bottles?
Or maybe, just maybe, my seasonal affective disorder is beginning to lift.
Hand me my drink. Anyone up for a BBQ?