Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Spring sprung

There’s this day that’s absolutely ethereal to me, when the winter cold vanishes and the summer heat isn’t here yet, and the air is crisp and feels good, and it’s always a time machine to past eras when this brief ripple between seasons occurs.  And it’s happening right now, but just for a few hours, until the sun arcs high and burns off the morning fog in the bay and heats the air from the fifties to the seventies. It’s hard to describe the in-between season, and it’s not as pronounced here as it is in places with real winters.  But it’s here, and it has me thinking.

Here’s one thing it reminds me of: in Indiana, in the summer months, sometimes the temps would dip at night.  Like it would be a hundred at noon, and by midnight, the temps would touch the sixties. I can remember so many sleepless nights, staying up late, staying out until dawn, and cherishing that hour at four or five in the morning, when it still felt humane, before the humidity hit a hundred percent again.  I remember the summers I would work the six AM shift, unloading trucks at Montgomery Ward, climbing out of bed at five to get into a beat-up Camaro with dew on the windows and a black interior that made every day feel like an Indian sweat lodge without the cool hallucinations, but in that hour before the sun’s heat, it felt nice.  One summer, I didn’t even have the car, and would walk the mile to the mall.  Everything would be quiet, no cars on the road, no kids on their bikes or suburbanites on their riding lawn mowers, grooming their chemlawn pissing contests.  I had the world to myself, and this invigorating feeling from the light air.  I’d be dead asleep, sleep deprived, hungry, wanting to go home and get back in bed for another six hours.  But I also knew that atmosphere would be gone if I rolled out of bed at noon and faced the brutality of the Indiana summer.

It’s hard to say when spring happens here, since it’s never brutally cold, and here by the water, the temps never climb that high.  There’s outside indicators, like when baseball season starts, when At Bat comes back to life on the iPhone and my page of RSS feeds that provide two updates a day on extended roster hot stove boredom suddenly come to life with thousands of stories of tradition and optimism and prediction. And I notice a chance in traffic patterns, the number of cars on the road during my commute.  It’s my only indicator that schools are in session or out of session, parents changing their morning commute to hurry their kids to schools and preschools.  I remember a time when the school year versus the summer months was a stark contrast, like the atmosphere on the moon versus that on the Earth.  Now half the time I can’t remember if it’s summer or spring or Halloween without looking at my desktop calendar first.

Speaking of, I’m going to a game in a bit, so I need to gather my gear, pack my camera bag, and find my rulebook and AM radio and binoculars and all of the other junk I bring to the ballpark.