Memorial Day be damned, I’ve been in total denial that the summer season — not summer, but the summer season — is upon us. Most of the time it’s been feeling like mid or late April. Yesterday I wore jeans and a turtleneck, facrissakes. Usually I spend a week or two procrastinating about doing the Great Winter/Summer Clothes Switch before I get around to actually doing it at the very end of May. This year I haven’t even thought about it.
True, two pairs of shorts were on the laundry line yesterday, along with a few T-shirts — and half a dozen turtlenecks. No longjohns, however: I’ve been tempted to pull them on once or twice in the last month, but donning longjohns in May is way worse than wearing white after Labor Day.
Also true, the oaks are leafing out, and many of us are sneezing more with the pollen, but usually by June 2 I’m itching to give Malvina Forester a bath so I can see her natural color. I haven’t started procrastinating on that one either.
I’m not much of a gardener, but I do like to grow cherry tomatoes and basil in the little dinghy out back. Late May felt enough like mid-April that I hesitated to plant anything for fear of frost. My grandma, who was a serious and successful gardener, never planted anything outside before Memorial Day, but she died in 1976 and the world has been getting warmer since then.
Even if this year it doesn’t feel like it.
Maybe 10 days ago I planted some cherry tomato and basil seeds in two containers. For days and days there was no visible action whatsoever. These were last year’s seeds — were they still good? Or were the poor babies just cold and afraid to sprout their little leaves out of the dirt?
One day when the sun actually came out and stayed out all day I spied a teeny bit of green in the basil container. By yesterday there were real signs of life in both boxes.
Vineyard Gardens, the nursery across the street from the West Tisbury post office, offers a 20% senior discount on Tuesdays. Last week I skipped it, sure whatever I bought would be creamed by the weather. This past Tuesday I went.
Now there are four cherry tomato seedlings in the dinghy — two Sun Gold, one Black Cherry, and one Grape — two coleus in pots on the deck railing, and two purple-and-white-striped petunias in what I keep calling my window box even though it’s not in a window; it’s built into the deck railing. My deck box?
Anyway, it’s looking more spring-y out there. I’m wearing jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt at the moment, but this morning I actually thought about taking the flannel sheets off my bed and replacing them with lightweight cotton. This had as much to do with the white veneer of dog hair they’ve accumulated as it did with the night-time temperature. I keep forgetting to pull the quilt up before Travvy gets onto the bed (where he is right this minute, by the way, wondering when I’m going to log off and go for a walk).
So it just dawned on me that it’s only two and a half months till the Ag Fair, the herald that assures us we’ve almost made it through another summer. So I guess spring really is here, and summer right behind it.