We have arrived at summer on Beaver Island! It’s obvious at the hardware store. Last week, we hooked up the air conditioning, and the complainers have gone from, “Will summer ever get here?” to “It’s too damn hot!” It’s clear in my garden, where pole beans are suddenly climbing poles, and flowers are bowed over from the heat.
In my house, I have finally opened all the windows. Opening the kitchen windows is a seasonal ritual that is pondered, debated, and put off until I’m absolutely sure that summer is really, truly here. Though most of the old windows in my house have been replaced with more modern double-pane versions that easily slide open or closed, that’s not the case in the kitchen.
The kitchen windows were already old, being replaced in someone else’s house, when I grabbed them up for mine. The wood is swollen, and springs are missing. They slide sideways, with great difficulty. The cupboards make them difficult to reach. Plastic, bubble wrap and duct tape covers their surface in an attempt to make them more air-tight when it’s cold.
Opening the kitchen windows involves removing all of that excess, plus taking down the dozen or so baskets that hang there. I need a short ladder, a rubber mallet and a wood chisel. Sometimes I have to stand in the sink, to gain leverage. I bring the hand vacuum along, for the dead flies, spider webs and chips of putty and paint that I’ll find in the channels. Once those windows are open, they stay that way until October!
Last week, with daytime temperatures in the eighties and nights warm enough to trade my usual covers for a simple sheet, I opened the kitchen windows. That has made me especially aware of the change in temperature this week
The sun shines warm and bright all day, and the beaches are busy with folks that have time to revel in it. When the sun goes down, though, it gets considerably cooler. By the time I’m ready to call it a night, I’ve turned off the little fan in the bedroom, and closed the sliding glass door. I put the light-weight comforter back on the bed, and opt for the flannel pajamas.
When I wake up, though it’s warm and cozy in my bed, I can feel the chill in the air. For three days in a row, the temperature has been in the mid 50’s (that’s about 12 celcius!) when I got up in the morning! If there’s any breeze, it feels like a winter wind when the kitchen windows let it in.
I put the heater on in the bathroom. I’ll put on sweats to walk the dogs. Meanwhile, though, I add a robe and slippers to what I’m wearing. I pour hot coffee. And I think about how much I love these cool summer mornings.