Post #39: The Calm Before the Swarm

I love a good old-fashioned rainy day. The kind of day where changing out of your sweatpants is not required, but you can consider it an extraordinary accomplishment if you do make it into a pair of jeans. The kind of day you can watch  Lifetime original movies or an America’s Next Top Model marathon for seven consecutive hours, and do so shamelessly. Sometimes rainy days are useful for fulfilling household chores. Other times they are useful for doing nothing at all. A rainy day, no matter how you choose to use it, ultimately feels like time well spent. Unless, of course, the rainy day falls on a day you planned to be outside. Or on a weekend in the Summer. (Passing showers are acceptable in this case but only if the excuse is needed for a little afternoon nap.) Rainy days are also not-so-welcome on the day of a wedding or any Monday of a holiday weekend. I guess I really should have been more clear… I love a good-old-fashioned rainy day when it conveniently situates itself into my schedule in consistency with my energy level and desire for the excuse to do nothing or a whole lot of something that would otherwise be a nuisance but isn’t because I’ve got nothing better to do because it’s raining.

So yeah, under the right conditions, I love a rainy day. But, notice the singularity of the word ‘day’. Very rarely do I appreciate rainy days delivered consecutively. They usually lose their novelty after 24 hours. I mean, I’m not THAT lazy.

So, yeah, April was tough up here at Lake Sunapee. When it wasn’t raining, misting, or snowing, it was foggy. And the fogginess carried with it a dampness that forewarned of rain to come. The weight of the gray mist that settled over the water made it feel like the sun had permanently vacated the sky, and I should, therefore just be appreciative that at least it wasn’t raining.

My rainy day to-do list (clean under the refrigerator, take a ridiculously long nap, sew back together the dog’s stuffed animals, read a celebrity magazine, or do none of the above without feeling guilty about not checking things off a list) became a sunny day to-do one (straighten my hair since it won’t get ruined by rain, rake, run, hike, and stay outside for as long as possible).

As I waited for sun to come back, I turned 26, I time-traveled back to colonial times and learned to live with a woodstove as the primary source of heat, I figured out how to bring a colonial cottage into the technological era (hello Ipad 2), I spent Easter with some family, went to NYC to visit more family, I policed traffic while a couple large snapping turtles crossed the street, I fulfilled a few pre-wedding bridesmaid duties, I joined a gym, and I got a job (a real one that I will get paid to do, unlike my other self-awarded professions of the past 8 months like ‘Gelato Connoisseur’ and ‘Travel Planner’). And I waited, very impatiently I might add, for the golden opportunity to play outside. All the while, I clung desperately onto my resolve to take pleasure in the little things. But my hands were tired from holding on so tight and I knew that if the day didn’t come soon, I would lose grip altogether.

Then, finally, not a second too soon, the sun evaporated the clouds. It was late afternoon in the last day of April. It had been unsurprisingly gray all morning when suddenly the sky lifted. I nearly ran out the front door. And I didn’t go back in until I’d spent the rest of the day outside. I couldn’t tell you what I did… I was so excited I think I blanked out.

The next morning, the first day of May, I woke up to another day of sun. I’d recovered from the shock of Vitamin D being reintroduced to my bloodstream and I was ready to take full (not frenzied like the previous afternoon) advantage of the day. And that’s what I did. Together with Kevin, and the dog (who was probably even more cabin-fevered than us), I went for a hike up the back side of Mount Sunapee to Lake Solitude, and then to the summit. In less than two weeks time, the trails will be overrun by swarms of black flies and mosquitoes. So, we knew the sun’s return was a miracle, perfectly timed for hikers in the Lakes Region. It was as if Mother Nature was making peace with New Hampshire residents for having abandoned them during the first month of Spring. She gave us, not only a sunny Sunday, but a bugless one to boot. And it was perfect. A few more of those and I will be forgiving, maybe even appreciative, of the next rainy day.

Two ducks taking off into the fog...

Cloudy day ends in a beautiful sunset over a still-icy lake

Finally... the sun!

Hiking up Lake Solitude Trail

View from the Mount Sunapee Summit

We helped this "little" fella cross the street to safety