We’re out at the Omni resort in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego, for meetings. It’s a pretty place, with lots of flowers, fountains, and the Palm Promenade walkway. The most amazing thing about the place from my perspective, however, is the weather — which is astonishingly temperate and mild. We’ve got broiling temperatures in the 90s in Columbus, but the temperature here is around 70, with a gentle breeze, too.
You could get used to it.
The daytime temperature in Las Vegas these days is topping out at around 100 degrees. That’s ludicrously hot, even by mad dogs and Englishmen standards. So, how to lure the crowds staggering from one casino to another to stop at an outdoor cafe for an aperitif? The entrepreneurial proprietors at some spots offer a refreshing mist, the better to cool your fevered brow and stimulate your thirst.
How is that working, you ask? Well, no one was sitting at this outdoor cabaret, even though the misters were firing at full throttle. It turns out that, after the initial cooling sensation, the misters just leave you feeling a bit soggy — and it still is 100 degrees outside.
A powerful set of rainstorms rolled over our neighborhood overnight, leaving the ground wet and the air with that light, crisp, delectable, freshly washed feel. Taking deep whiffs of the air the morning after a Midwestern summer storm is like crawling into a bed made with freshly laundered sheets.
I poured myself a cup of coffee, from beans just ground by Stauf’s, and padded out onto our back porch, where the neighborhood birds were putting on a musical performance, free to anyone who cared to listen.
Sunday morning is a good time to drink a fine cup of coffee and listen to the birds. There’s no traffic on Third to increase the level of background noise, and you can hear the different birds, with their different, melodic calls, distinctly. It is so quiet and peaceful that you can hear the chirps and songs of birds in the distance, answering the calls of their brethren, and when the birds take a brief break, the absolute stillness feels deep and almost palpable.
The birds put on a pretty good show.
Our house on Short Hills Drive in Bath, Ohio had an asphalt driveway. The driveway ran up a small hill, took a right turn to the garage, and had a big open area at the top of the hill where Mom and Dad had put up a basketball hoop.
On blistering summer days, the sun would heat the asphalt, and you could catch a whiff of tar and feel the heat radiating off the black surface. On those days I liked to walk barefoot on the driveway, to take in the smell and the scorching heat and see how long my feet could stand it. It’s one of those things that will always mean “summer” to me.
I was reminded of this today as I was out walking to do a few errands. It was hot and the sun was shining brightly. As I walked I passed a freshly paved asphalt parking lot, smelled that smell, and felt that heat, and the sensory experiences brought it all back. I started to think about how much I enjoyed walking barefoot on hot asphalt, and how I hadn’t done it in years. So when I got closer to home, and I passed an empty parking lot that was ablaze in the sunshine, I couldn’t resist. I took off my sneakers and socks and set out across the lot, feeling the burn on the soles of my feet.
My feet aren’t as tough and calloused as they used to be, and after a few laps around the tarry surface I was ready to step off and put my shoes back on. But my little barefoot exercise felt good. In fact, it felt exactly like summer.
Green has never been one of my favorite colors, but after a long, gray, bleak winter I’m relishing the explosion of springtime color — all green, of course — in our backyard. The trees, grass, shrubs, and plants seem to have covered virtually every shade in the green rainbow.
Time to get out the green color chart. Chartreuse? Check. Lime? Check. Olive? Check. Emerald? Check . . . .
We’re down in Freeport, on the Grand Bahama Island, for a wedding.
I realized, fully and completely, that we were no longer in Columbus when I stepped outside onto the balcony of our hotel room this morning, saw this scene, and thought: “Omigod! It’s actually warm here! I can step outside in the morning without wearing a coat!”
It’s nice to be warm for a change.
Photographs are great, but their inherent limitations mean they can’t possibly capture everything special about a moment.
As I was walking around Schiller Park the other morning, the branches of a beautiful old tree were backlit by the first glimmers of dawn, the air was crisp but not too cold, birds were chirping, mallards and ducks were muttering to each other as they waddled past on the lawn, and the promise of growing things was everywhere evident. When I noticed the scene I realized with a jolt that spring may finally be here, and I savored the moment, enough to stop and take a picture.
It’s a nice picture, but it really doesn’t do justice to the moment. Of course, when spring does come after an overlong winter, you don’t want to see it in pictures, you want to get outside and enjoy it with every sense and fiber of your being.