Thursday, August 23, 2012

Virginia in August

All through the month of July, I griped about the weather. It truly was miserable, but my complaining just raised the question, from those who don't have to put up with Virginia in July, "Then why do you want to live there?!"

Of course part of the reason is practical: work and housing and all. It took us years to get established here, and we are not interested in starting over from scratch somewhere else. But we actually did want to live here. In July, I was scratching my head to think of one good reason why.

Now it's August and it's all coming back to me. Cicadas. Crickets. Mimosa trees. Thunderstorms. Hot sun and cool breeze. Fertile soil and bountiful harvests. Windows open day and night.

You see, I am in love with fresh air. I want the maximum number of "outside days" I can get.  Virginia isn't perfect, but it scores pretty high.

The problem is that the placement of the outside days throws me for a loop. They start in April, when I don't expect them. I enjoy them for a bit, but then I start to take them for granted, because soon it will be summer and it will be even nicer, right?

Then June hit and we had to shut up all the windows in the heat of the day, then all day. We'd play outside, but it was always either too hot or too buggy. July was the same only worse and with more thunderstorms. This summer it would be over 100 degrees for a week. The garden turned into a jungle of weeds.

But now it's August and so, so lovely. I don't want to let it slip by like the spring did. I reckon we'll get till late October, and then I'll have to shut all the windows again. When we start homeschooling, I'll make a schedule that respects our climate: school during summer and winter only, with holidays on pleasant days.

A few more things I love about where I live:

The rolling hills. As a Westerner, I don't call them mountains, but that doesn't mean I'm not fond of them. I love the way you can drive along them and get long views of the valley below around every bend. The vineyards and farmland look like another era, with wisps of smoke and mist drifting up out of hollows. It reminds me of Assisi, one of my favorite places in the world.

My neighborhood. It reminds me of the one I grew up in. 1950's factory workers' homes, along a quiet street where no one drives but your own neighbors. Kids ride their bikes up and down and no one complains. Everyone's got a front porch, and sometimes I hear them calling from porch to porch. They're happy to share a bag of cherry tomatoes or help pick up fallen branches in our yard.

Our town. Sure, it's a little rundown and junky; there are way more sleazy hotels and tattoo parlors than you'd think one town could support. But it's open and friendly. It's near some lovely farm country. There's a great parish with lots of young families and a bus that takes me around for 50 cents.

We've been making friends, getting involved, really putting down roots here. I'm not saying we'll never leave, but for now I am very content to stay right where I am.


Salixbabylonica said...

Hmmph. You young Western whippersnapper mountains! Ain't got no respect for your elders. Look this good when you are 480 million years old you will not!

The Appalachian Mountains

Anonymous said...

I love this post, Sheila! Glad you're so happy where you are - it sounds wonderful and down to earth!
Ellen Mady

Sheila said...

SB, I love it! The Appalachians are a little ... well, they're feeling their years. I'm used to mountains that still have all their youthful vigor.

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