So, with apologies to Greta, who is just entering winter in Australia,here are my Top Five Reasons to Love Summer, followed by a few things that can ruin your season in the sun.
1) Warm weather and sunshine. There are plenty of folks here in the South who start complaining of the heat in late spring. Not me. I love being able to go out in the morning with just a tee-shirt, knowing I won’t be shivering. Granted, with climate change, even in the mountains, we’ve had high temps already, but I’d rather suffer ninety degrees than freeze my nose off.
2) Birds, birds, birds. In Disney’s BAMBI, the wise old owl complains that the birds are all “twitter-pated” at this time of year, finding mates, building nests and singing their little hearts out. They are certainly living up to that description around my house. The hummingbirds are making do with my feeder while waiting for the four o’clocks to bloom. And the hawks and owls trade shifts to give the bunnies the willies.
3) Festivals and cons. Marshall offers the fantastically creative Mermaid Festival in June, transforming the town for an entire day into a haven for ocean creatures, pirates, ladies of the sea and marvelous inventions of all sorts and culminating in a parade down Main Street. I’m participating in the first annual Spruce Pine Alien Conference and EXPO the next county over (near Brown Mountain, site of many UFO sightings) later in June. In July, the 41st annual Shore Leave STAR TREK convention welcomes Nichelle Nichols and Anson Mount as guests, and I’m once again participating in the authors’ panels.
4) Lazy afternoons/evenings on the screened porch. I admit I haven’t had a lot of time for these yet. But they are among my favorite parts of summer. Afternoons with a book and a glass of iced tea. Evenings with friends and an adult libation while the air gets cool and the coyotes have their little parties. Aahh!
5) Fireworks on the Fourth of July. The little brewpub in our town has a deck overlooking the French Broad River. Last year the town fathers in their wisdom moved the fireworks launch site across the river, making the best place to view the display just that brewpub deck. I plan to get there early!
|Maybe Reason #6--the mountain views in summer.|
Now, summers have a few drawbacks, too, some bigger than others:
--Destructive weather. We’ve probably seen the last of heavy downpours, flooding and landslides until the fall here in western North Carolina, but the folks all along the Mississippi River and its tributaries are facing historic flooding right now. Tornadoes have flattened towns throughout the Midwest and South all spring and will probably continue to threaten the region into the summer. Climate change is driving all this wild weather, putting millions of people and a vast amount of farmland at risk.
--Drownings, lost hikers and accidents in the woods. Recent lost hikers in Hawaii have called national attention to this problem, which is all too common here in the Appalachians, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other outdoor attractions. North Carolina has a lot of beautiful waterfalls, which draw unwary outdoor enthusiasts to their deaths every summer. Young people, especially, think they’re invulnerable and ignore warnings, taking crazy risks. Rescue teams are sometimes too late.
--Poison ivy, my personal bane. This is not a threat to life, of course, but no summer is complete without an encounter with this evil denizen of the woods. Climate change is at work here, too, since this plant just loves higher levels of carbon dioxide and heat. Great.
--Raccoons and squirrels. Fine animals in their place, but when they set out to dig up all my recently planted shrubs or steal the just-ripe strawberries from my raised planting box, this means war!