by Janis Patterson
Right now, when the temperature is so close to the triple digits they almost touch, the above statement is pretty much an act of faith. Yes, we know winter will come again – at least, it always has in the past – but it’s hard to take much comfort from that knowledge when sweat drips off our nose and the entire garden is brown and crispy.
But winter is coming – and even though we know it will bring bitter weather that makes us long for summer again, it is a promise of change. Of lovely grey days instead of piercingly brilliant ones, when the blistering sunlight is literally a weight on your shoulders. Of late mornings and early evenings. Of snuggly warm sweaters and hot chocolate instead of shorts and iced tea. (Though if you are a Southerner, the season makes no difference – you drink iced tea summer, winter and every season in between!)
But, I can hear you saying, it’s hot outside. It’s still summer, and will be for at least another month or so. That’s true, but it’s also true the weather has changed. Just weeks ago the sunlight used to be blinding when I awoke, but now mornings are a subdued pearly grey. When I step onto the patio, coffee in hand, the temperature does not scald my skin. It’s still warm, but it’s a cooler warm, if you know what I mean. Whatever the time of day or the temperature, all of a sudden the air just feels different. And I like it.
I know that around late January I will probably have had it with cold toes and bulky winter clothing and not being able to run out to the hot tub in the early mornings and having to put on coats and scarves and hats just to go to the store, and will be longing for the bright warmth and freedom of summer. (Perhaps that’s a world record for the number of ‘ands’ in a single sentence!) However, that is symptomatic of the human race. We always want what we don’t have at the moment.
So what does this have to do with mystery writing? Not much, if anything. Maybe it’s a metaphor for the fact that the next book we’re going to write is always going to be so superior to the one we’re currently writing. Or maybe it’s just that I’m lazy, and didn’t want to work at doing a post on craft or imagery or whatever it is I’m always writing about. And that’s fine with me. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and be glad that winter is coming, because there will always be a summer following that. It’s a certainty, and certainties ground us.