It's Granite Summertime

When a season can't quite make up its mind, we can still make the most of it

Illustration by Brad Fitzpatrick

April in New Hampshire is the special time. It's summertime.

Work with me here.

You see, all winter what we really are pining for - what our sweet dreams are made of while we're wrapped in our cocoons of sweaters, sweatshirts and oh-so-sexy flannel pajamas - is that month of true awakening. Are we longing for a sunset in those lazy days of August? Do we just exist 'til the heat of mid-summer?

Are you kidding? The Season of Sweat and Mosquito? Not a chance, my friend. What you want is April. Some call it late Mud Season. I call it the New Hampshire summer.

April - well, this is when things are happenin'. There's the hint of the things to come. The tree buds reveal themselves. There's that certain smell. We open the windows, if only a little. The annual renewal is under way.

It's also the month the earliest black flies arrive. The yard melts into a marsh bog. Our unofficial fifth season made of mud.

We're unique animals, us Yankees. My neighbor has been raking his yard weekly, thanks to the mild winter, so it's no real surprise he's out there now, mowing the lawn. Seems odd when there's still a snowbank left over from what little snow he had to plow, but he's doing his best to carve around it. I won't look twice when he pulls out the weed trimmer to neatly groom around the melting slush. This is the same good man who was out on his mower Thanksgiving weekend. After football, it's the best way to work off a turkey dinner, I suppose.

The neighborhood kids are out in force as well. It matters little that the yards have the consistency of tidal marsh pits and rain forest quicksand, or that school has yet two more months; it's above 42 Fahrenheit, the Red Sox are on the radio and our summer is officially on. The dark days of winter are all but gone. We laugh (nervously) at the prospect of an April surprise snowfall. It's light out until 6 p.m. for crying out loud. It's practically beach season.

We Granite Staters are a practical lot, to be sure. June is for back-to-school shopping. We plan for heating season in July. We put snow tires on before Halloween. Storm windows are up for Thanksgiving.

In April, however, you'll see convertibles with the top down, their drivers with ski hats on. Fans will pack the stadium in Manchester to see your championship New Hampshire Fisher Cats play, gladly eating hot dogs with gloves on if necessary (oh yes, I have). Kids in shorts and T-shirts playing soccer with snowbanks for goal nets. Skiers closing down the slopes in bikinis.

And good neighbors mowing their mud. Yep. Summertime, New Hampshire-style.

Happy April, you good folk of Granite Land.


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