It’s Mother’s Day.
I’m spending it with my mother and my aunt at my mother’s townhouse. Mr Wren is coming over later with a gift of fresh-laid eggs from our hens. We’ve no plans except to be willfully slothful.
Two days ago it was California-May hot outside: 91 degrees, dry as a bone without a breath of breeze, a scorched, hazy sky like thin, bluish milk overhead. The reality: There are six months-worth of days exactly like it or even hotter about to begin.
We’ve had no actual “spring.” The season shifted from California’s semi-wet, cool season to its dry oven-season almost overnight. No gentle transition here. And yet today, Mother’s Day, a cold front slipping down from the Pacific Northwest has obscured the sun with a high, thick layer of gray clouds. Rain makes empty threats, but the temperature is 25 degrees lower than yesterday.
I’m truly grateful for this brief reprieve from the oncoming, oppressive summer heat. The temperature may just touch 70 degrees by late afternoon. My mother, who’s been dreadfully sensitive to cold all her life, is tucked up under her electric blanket-throw on the sofa, the furnace blowing thick, warm air from the ceiling vents. It’s 73 degrees in her living room. She looks out the window at the cool gray, mid-fifties morning and shivers.
“It’s just like winter out there!” she exclaims, tugging the throw up around her neck.
I smile and say nothing. Winter in the Central Valley of California is like summer in Northern Germany. I have a warm coat, purchased last fall with a vague hope for temperatures low enough to need it, that I never wore once during the cool months. It’s still on the hook near the garage door where I hung it in late October, untouched. I imagine that there are small house spiders living in the sleeves, hoping for gnats to wander in to stick in their hidden webs just the same way I hoped for the cold.
To honor this final cool day, and Mother’s Day, I’ll make a pot of fresh, hot vegetable soup for our supper. We’ll have some crusty bread along with it, too. The soup will warm Mom’s tummy and please my vegetarian aunt. And if there’s any left over, we’ll eat it later this week, refreshingly cold, straight out of the refrigerator as we celebrate the rising outdoor heat and (me with resigned reluctance, Mom with real joy) the long, long California summer to come.
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.