When the temperature rises, when the sun beats down on city streets, people get grouchy. Children whine. Parents yell. Teachers lose patience. Workers stuck in sweltering shops make mistakes. Car drivers honk horns as they swerve in and out of traffic lanes.
The longer it stays hot, the worse things get. Frustrations normally held in check surface. Old hatreds blossom. Minor complaints become major sources of ire.
Environmental problems make matters worse. Fires erupt that, if the wind is blowing, sweep across the landscape, burning houses, schools and businesses. People die, not just because of wildfires, but also because of heat exhaustion.
Crops can’t grow or are burned so badly that the fruit is destroyed. The aquifer, which supplies water to roots, dries up. Plants die. Yards turn brown.
When the lows and highs intersect, tornadoes are born. The high number of fans running taxes the electrical grid. Rolling power cutoffs cause food to spoil. Machines that keep people alive falter.
So many things happen that make life miserable that it’s sometimes hard to find a single positive about rising temperatures.
Ask a kid, however, and you might learn a thing or two.
Sometimes fire hydrants are opened and kids run gleefully through the spray. Backyard swimming pools are blown up. Perhaps it’s only enough water to sit in, but the magic works anyway.
Footballs are put away: baseballs come out. Outings to the beach or lake or river are planned. School is over for nearly three months. Television becomes a major source of entertainment. Kid-friendly movies proliferate.
Cold drinks and frozen treats lift spirits. Water guns and filled balloons cause much running around and shrieking.
Kids get to stay out well past dark. If they live where there are lightning bugs, they might catch one so as to hold the tiny on and off of light in their hands.
Badminton and croquet sets come out. Volleyball, too.
There seems to be so much more to do when it is warm than in the frost of winter.
Just like any season, summer has its plusses and minuses. How you think about it makes the difference.
You can bemoan the heat or step outside and watch the kids zip around, smiles on their faces.
The heat can make us miserable, but it doesn’t have to. It’s just one more thing that nature gives us to deal with as best we can.
Water pistols! Going to the beach! And going up to the public beach on the Russian River to swim. And popsicles!