The weather is doing strange and unpredictable things this Spring.
More than usual, I think.
After several cool days, I stepped outside one morning last week to the kind of heat and high humidity – already at 9 A.M. – that we wouldn’t normally see for a month yet. The scent of lilacs wafted along in that heavy air from trees and bushes that were miles away.
I felt blessed that day, walking in that warm, perfumed breeze.
The next day was warm and sunny, but the winds increased.
Rains came in next, and the temperatures dropped.
Today feels downright cold!
Business is following the weather, in its unpredictability.
It doesn’t seem to matter if folks are traveling one thousand miles to spend their summer vacation here…when the cold weather lingers, they seem to know it. If the weather is bad, the visitors don’t come. In addition, severe Winter storms caused school districts to take “snow days” that they have to make up at the end of the year. Many schools are still in session.
There are other factors.
Seasonal shops and restaurants are just now opening up for the Summer here on Beaver Island. Suddenly, there are more choices of where to go for lunch, dinner or “happy hour.”
A busy day leaves me feeling hopeful and encouraged…and a little bit scared. This long, spare Winter has been hard on my budget; I’m anxious to get some money coming in again. I look forward to the busy-ness of Summer. Still, it has been close to fourteen years since I last worked as a server in this harbor-front establishment. My bosses were kind enough to accommodate my requests for location and hours; I would hate to let them down. Every busy day that I manage to keep the pace, I congratulate myself a little bit…but I know it’s going to pick up. I haven’t really been tested, yet.
A slow day…or two or three of them in a row…makes me even more afraid. Will this be the year, finally, when the poor economy or the price of travel will keep people away? Will we get enough visitors this Summer? In this tourist-based industry, these are annual, underlying fears. Most of our income for the whole year is dependent on a few short weeks when the sun is bright and the sands are warm. June is always a slow month, I remind myself; things will get better.
My own fortunes…and my moods…are as up and down as the weather.
An income tax refund allowed me to catch up a little bit, and pay one large bill that has been hanging over my head all Winter.
My little dog ran into the road, was bowled over and badly bruised by a car. That demanded an emergency visit to the veterinarian (a godsend at times like that!) for a thorough examination, x-rays, a shot of cortisone and pain medicine for the following seven days.
I sold two paintings through Livingstone Studio – the summer gallery that carries my work here – in the first week that they were open.
I broke a tooth, eating rice cereal one morning. The order of that day was two hours in the dental chair, a temporary crown and a well-used credit card.
I hired a man to take out three trees that have been encroaching on and shading my garden. That’s a bigger deal than what it sounds like. It is amazingly hard to find someone on this island to tackle small jobs. Everyone is too busy; many don’t want to mess with things like that. The few times that we’ve had someone willing to work exclusively at odd jobs and repairs, they’ve had more work than they can handle. I was thrilled to find someone to do the job for a fair price, in a timely fashion. I’m still pleased about it, even though…
I came home last night to find that the last tree had fallen in the wrong direction, poking a hole in the roof of my old shed and taking down a good portion of the back of my garden fence.
That’s the way it’s been…highs and lows.
My dog survived…things broken are repairable…so in the end, more good than bad.
As the weather warms up, the tourists will come.
It’s cold today, but Summer is on the way.
That’s how it is, for me, here on Beaver Island, this second day of June.