Yes, I take the greatest pleasure in my surroundings when they have just changed. Each is so distinct you can practically taste it.
First, I can imagine the end of Indian summer, when the fog finally rolls in and the nights become sharper and slightly longer. There are no nights like autumn nights around our place, when the lower fields behind the house are covered in a silver blanket that the moon sets aglow. Here and there a tree rises up out of the mist, adding a certain sense of quiet and solitude.
Later, as the cold intensifies and the days lengthen, the apples on the ground gain a layer of frost, further preserving them as they decompose into the ever-harder ground. Finally, the sun hangs continuously low in the sky as each moment of its brilliance becomes a rare treat. I can always imagine hunting for a Christmas tree or playing a game of [frostbite] football in the yard…such memories. Finally the cold snap is past. The rain becomes the rule of the day--the continuous damp and dimness of each day becomes a burden for some, a comfort for others.
Finally the breeze mellows some. The former bite slackens and the bare branches of deciduous trees take on the slightest tint of green as countless buds tempt the eye with a sense of newness and life. Then the blossoms on other trees burst out in exuberant colors that never fail to please. As they fall and create a pink carpet on the grass, more greens appear to compliment the deep evergreens, as the palette becomes rich with varying hues. The sun shines warmly little bits at a time, but just a little more often each week. The country folk around the county smile a little more, and everyone breaks out their sunglasses--sometimes a little prematurely, as the spots of sun are still rare.
But then comes a slower change. It's harder to follow the switch from spring to summer. I suppose by the end of June one can usually declare with the greatest sense of certainty that summer is in full swing. For my part, I like to look for subtle things: the hay fields shaven of their spring coat with the proceeds gathered into great round bails which cast dynamic shadows as the sun's path rises higher than ever into the sky before dropping down into the northwest corner to set with grandeur par excellence. Today, I drove the Hannagan home from Bellingham and was treated to that very scene. It was close to 9:30 as I drove the through the warm evening and realized it had been a year since I had been out on a similar evening.
Summer is truly here, and the first element to gently brush the senses--smell of cut grass, the first peaceful warm evening, the first taste of summer fruit--is always the sweetest.