With apologies to my family in South Dakota, where the snow Just. Won’t. End.
Sometimes spring in the south skips the balmy 70-degree days and goes right for the over-80 crowd. But just over 80, without so much humidity that you feel compelled to turn on the AC, but enough heat that you gasp for air and turn on the fans and open the windows and sweat through dinner prep and dinner and cleaning up, only to appear downstairs at 8 p.m. (after tucking the sweating kids into bed, turning on their ceiling fans, and hoping the Stinker Bear doesn’t climb the bunk bed ladder and bust his head on the moving fan blades) and realize that it’s still quite toasty, that going outside won’t get you the breath of fresh, dry air you’re dying for and it’s only April and how can it be so hot already?
For an Idaho girl, where you can watch your coffee steam on a dry, cool summer morning, I find this climate hard to take sometimes. But I almost feel as if I’m a real southerner now, as if I can move with the seasons and sweat through a too-warm spring without cranking up the central air and do it the way they used to, with fans and cool drinks and light food and by letting the body do its thing, shining a glistening sheen on the forehead and sweating out those 8 pounds I wanted to lose anyway.
(Speaking of those pounds. I’m exercising, watching what I eat, and they are not melting away. My metabolism and I are not on speaking terms.)
But really, how can I complain? I read a book about a Knoxville girl in the 1800s, and they had it bad. All that underwear, those layers of petticoats, corsets, long-sleeved high-necked dresses, and still no air conditioning. No wonder girls fainted so much back then.
And the truth is, we live in one of the most beautiful places I can imagine. It’s not breathtaking like some exotic locations, but it’s everyday lovely. The blooming dogwoods have my attention now. A few weeks ago, it was the pink redbuds and the white blossoms on the Bradford pears. Our bulbs have been out for more than a month, and soon the crepe myrtles will sprout their beautiful pink blooms. Everywhere you look is green and flowers and almost-bloom. Every day I wake up here and look around me and thank God for putting us in this unlikely, unknown, totally amazing place.
And now, it’s nearly quarter after eight, and I think I felt a cool breeze come in the window and cool my neck just now. I also hear multiple door-slammings upstairs, along with a “Jonathan, GO TO BED.” So I must go and investigate, and then I will get back on the treadmill and sweat my way through another Tennessee spring workout. Good night.