On a cold, snowy day, I invite you to think of another time, not too long from now: August. Kent Island.
Empty blue sky with a fine skiff of white way up high.
Heat that engulfs you, envelops you. Thick. Humid. You start to sweat as soon as you step outside, and it stays with you, sticks under your arms, under the waistband of your shorts. Beads on your lips. Trickles slowly down your forehead, into your eyes….
Fat green and black cicadas calling zeep zeep zeep to each other, invisible in the full, leafy branches of towering trees.
Shimmers in the air, hovering right over the scorching gray-black asphalt.
Dogs splayed on their sides in the shade, ham-pink tongues lolling, sides quivering as they pant, dozing.
Cats tucked in the cool shadows beneath still cars, only their eyes visible as they watch puffy-tailed squirrels chase each other across lush grass and up trees. The low growl of a lawnmower somewhere, not far.
Birds—those little brown ones you see all the time—hopping from here to there, pecking at stones, tiny heads twitching, beady black eyes always alert. Far overhead, a red-headed turkey vulture hangs, gray-brown wings outstretched, circling. Circling.
The odd shriek from a dappled gull. They should be out over the Bay, but they prefer to loiter in parking lots as if they were bored teenagers. Of which–gulls and teenagers–there are many.
August. Not far. And when it comes, it is slow to leave. Its days linger, reluctant to give way. Its nights–little cooler–are not still. Frogs and crickets fill it.
It will come, sooner than we think.
Sooner than we might wish.