On this long weekend that marks the end of summer for those of us in the U.S. and Canada, I'm thinking back over the summer of 2008. It was one of the best and fairest of summers, weather-wise, that I can remember.
I'm reminded of the song "Camelot" from the movie of the same name: "A law was made a distant moon ago here - July and August cannot be too hot. By order summer lingers through September, in Camelot."
And: "The rain may never fall 'til after sundown, by 8 the morning fog must disappear. In short there's simply not, a more congenial spot, for happily-ever-aftering than here in Camelot." Once the three weeks of constant rain ended in mid-June, it's been oh-so pleasant.
Here in Bismarck, it never once reached 100 degrees, much less topped it. That's unusual for the Northern Great Plains. I myself have seen it get to 113 degrees. Even on days when it reached the 90s, the evenings cooled down most comfortably. When it did rain, it usually was at night, just like in Camelot.
The tornado sirens only went off once all summer. Unusual? - you bet! We only had one rip-roaring thunder, lightning and wind storm. Unusual? - uh huh! We had no hail at all. Unusual? - absolutely. We never once turned on our air conditioner. Unu--oh, am I wearing out that word?
Here are some substitutes: It was a summer of spring zephyr breezes. It was moderate, balmy, temperate, blissful, languorous. Even the West-Nile-virus-carrying culex tarsalis mosquito went away somewhere. The c.t.s represented only 4% of mosquitoes found in traps, and the reported cases of West Nile were down by 4/5ths from last year.
This summer also reminded me of what I have read about the weather in England the summer of 1914, "The hot, sun-drenched gorgeous summer of 1914; the most beautiful in living memory. It was remembered as a kind of Eden." Writer Stefan Zweig remembers that he "had rarely experienced a summer more luxurious, more beautiful and, I am happy to say, more summery."
A summery summer. Yes, that's what we've had here. The essence of all summers, with all of the good and little of the bad. I savored every day of this summer, from early in the cool mornings to late into the evenings.
But we remember what happened in both Camelots - ancient and modern. And at the end of the summer of 1914, the guns of August began booming, signaling the start of the Great War. I certainly hope that the summer of 2008 does not portend anything bad coming in the fall!
NOTE ADDED LATER: I have deleted an ending sentence in this post, and any comments referring to that sentence will not be shown.