Epiphanies

Your Favorite Season

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A note

By Brian Doyle

August 22, 2014


 

I have heard people say that spring is their favorite season, and I understand the vernal yearning, the whole resurrection thing, the ebbing of snow and the melting of ice, though me personally, when someone says, I love spring, I think, I hate mud, but I do not say that aloud, for the people who love spring are an earnest and hopeful people, and it would not do to pinch their buds just as the green fuse is about to drive through their flowers.

And I have heard many people say that autumn is their favorite season, and here too I understand their love for jackets and fireplaces and football, and geese mooing overhead, and scatters and swirls of fallen leaves, and delicious melancholy, and the first thick soups and stews, and children dressed as princesses and incarcerated governors; but when someone says I love fall! I think, You love going back to school, and the last desperate assaults of yellow-jacket wasps, and the beginning of the relentless wet season, and that first morning in October when your car-locks freeze, and you have to borrow a small child to exhale hotly into the lock for four minutes at the rate of 50 cents a minute, up 10 cents from last year in an outrageous and unconscionable price hike?

And I have even heard two or three people say, I love winter, but we can discount these poor souls, and be glad that social services today are far more extensive and easily accessible than they were when we were young.

No, the only season to love, the only truly lovable season, the season you know you love best even if you stand there gesticulating at me and making strangled sounds like asthmatic herons about how you love spring or fall, is summer, and there are so many reasons that summer is the best season that I do not have room here to list more than a few: the faint thunder of surf, the delicious alluring evocative scent of suntan lotion, the lovely silly comical sound of flip-flops, the delightful prevalence of shorts, the inarguable total coolness of sunglasses, the sweet lack of jackets, the general absence of shoes, the odd inexplicable pleasure of beach books, the shocking brilliance and gargantuanity of beach towels, the sharp bitter bracing glory of a cold ale at four in the afternoon anywhere near water in August, the admirable businesslike thrum of bumblebees, the exquisitely athletic way that bees and butterflies surf on the tall flowers growing in the lawn because someone has not mown the lawn for three weeks even though someone swore and vowed and promised he would do so but then trundled off with his friends to the lake, the river, the ocean, leaving a note that said, I will do it tomorrow for sure, which he did not.

I mean, the way a honeybee alights on that foot-tall flower, and rides it down smoothly as his weight makes it bend, and then slips off gracefully back into the air before the flower hits its ground, and then how the flower boings back up to almost upright but not quite, is all by itself a reason to love summer better than all the other seasons combined, with total respect to people who prefer mud and ice and sleet and slush. Far be it from me to insist that people who prefer mud and ice and sleet and slush are stark raving gibbering bubbleheads; that would be unfairly dismissive of the opinions of my fellow beings, something I hope never to be.

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland magazine and the author of numerous books, most recently the novel The Plover.

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