“No regrets.” -Tim Riggins, Friday Night Lights
Something hard to miss happens every spring. Unlike Easter or Washington’s birthday, the date isn’t fixed, but it’s still a cause for celebration. It’s the first warm day.
Usually sometime in March, suddenly it’s 50 or better. The sun is out. Not the low, blinding sun of February, but a different sun, the summer sun. You can smell the melting, hear the trickling water, and you feel like a survivor who just conquered another winter.
Maybe it hits 60, and you rock a t-shirt. It feels weird to have exposed skin, unless you’re that guy who wears gym shorts 365 days a year (Maybe you’ve seen him walking through a blizzard in the Hannaford parking lot to get a week’s worth of Mountain Dew). This day makes the whole winter worth it, and seems to take up more than 24 hours. Memories of February get smaller and smaller, like the snowbanks.
Pretty soon all that melting leads to so much growing and everything turns green. Sometimes I lose my bearings in my own neighborhood because of how different the streets look. Where everything was covered in snow—shades of white and gray—grass, plants, and flowers are growing. Then there are the trees. In winter they’re bare, a jagged collection of sticks, but now they’re leafed out, closing in all the open spaces and always a little bigger than last year.
Weekends fill up fast with events, festivals, fairs, trips to camp, beach days, parties, and plans. But before you know it, the grass has slowed down, the mosquitoes aren’t out as much, and somebody just said “back-to-school shopping.” If only we could slow down summer, but that’s not how this works.
Just like a trip around the lake on an inner tube, we cycle through Maine’s seasons. Trying to pause one moment is as pointless as trying to stop that inner tube, and about as much fun. Summer in Maine is meant to be transitory, a series of sun-drenched adventures between winters. Besides, there’s no time for regrets: cold weather’s coming.
Just like that day in March, there is another in September. The air gets crisp and suddenly you need your jacket. There’s even something novel or cute about not just wearing a coat, but actually needing it. There will be no more beach days, but we’re still riding the wave, going for another trip around the lake.