I find it ironic how we can’t wait for winter to be gone. Away with the cold weather! We are ready to put sweats, socks, and sweaters into storage and get outside to do anything that brings the sunshine to our pale faces and color back into our world. We envision our gardens growing and bountiful, our decks and yards amass with annual and perennial color, our time spent outdoors shared with friends and family.
And then it’s summer; usually an instantaneous happening here in the Rogue Valley, as we go from a cold spring with late frosts, to 80- and 90-degree days. No transitional, gradual warming, nope! It comes in like a bang, and we are thankful that it is here. Yay! We can plant gardens, visit nurseries and eat outdoors.
And suddenly it is too hot to stay outside for very long, even though slathered in sunscreen. Now days are spent indoors again, slipping outside only at dawn and dusk to water the many plots and containers we were so excited about planting just two months ago! Then, just when we figure out watering schedules, activities, and what we won’t be planting next year – the dreaded wildfire smoke comes into our lives. It’s summer in the Rogue Valley!
Living in a beautiful area with an abundance of nature also means that the health of our forests plays a dominant role in our lives. Forest fires in the PNW used to occur every 5–10 years; now they happen yearly. Where there is fire there is smoke. In 2018 we averaged 37 days of unhealthy air pollution; in 2020 it was 41 days (particulate matter in the air was over 100 on the Air Quality Index). There goes the tail end of summer.
Life is not how we dictate it should be, it is what it is. We need to adjust to the new kind of “summer” whether we want to or not. Here’s hoping the fires will soon be contained and the smoke will clear. We can enjoy the merging into fall; delighting in the cooler weather and sunny afternoons, as we clear the gardens for next season’s crops. Goodbye Summertime Blues!