In the summer on the east coast the heat oppresses. Sticky and uncomfortable friends shower often and drape themselves as they sit, careful not to touch any of their limbs together. In Colorado the heat is likewise merciless, but dry. Everyone carries water with them, into stores, cars and the wilderness. We gather near trees, wishing their shade extended still further, that we had planted more. It is a time, in both places, of some adventures and some lethargy.
This is not the magic of summer though, not the hours we will wish for when winter again is upon us. Those hours, the precocious gift, comes after five, after eight, after ten pm, when the sun sets and the world cools, even if but slightly. These are the magic hours, when whole towns are out of doors, awake and together. When sidewalks fill and laughter can be heard from blocks away. Neighbors chat, dogs sniff, and children chase each other on foot and bicycle. It is a treasure, this comfort in the darkness, and a memory that will carry us through long winters and short days.
In Colorado for the weekend it is the evenings that most satisfy. Like Arizona a few weeks earlier, the gift of summer is after the sun sinks in the sky. In small towns on the east coast the magic hour is after the sky has grown dark, when the heat is within, rather than without. Then the entire town comes out of doors at last, together in the dark. For me, now, living where July means a lack of blue sky and August wear a jacket to work, each summer evening is a treasure. Throughout the summer I find them in strange cities, in Ithaca, in Collingswood, in Portland, Lake Havasu and Fort Collins. Each time they surprise me, an unexpected gift.