Saturday 03 Dec 2016

Sunshine
Jennifer Flaten

A few days ago, the mercury actually worked its way up to 60 degrees. The sun was shining bright, the sky was clear blue and it seemed that winter had finally packed its bags and left.

With that tantalizing hint of spring in the air, it was no surprise that people ventured out of their winter lairs. Our usually quiet neighborhood was a beehive of activity.

The weather encouraged people to strap a leash on the dog, plop the baby in the stroller, lace up their walking shoes and hit the sidewalk

Our street was a constant parade of people. I live in a very quiet neighborhood, populated by older couples whose kids have grown, normally I see my neighbors very little, except these first days of spring.

As I engaged in yet more yard clean up, cursing our abundance of shade trees the entire time. Those same trees whose praises I will be singing a few short months from now when the broiling August sun beats down on us, I enjoyed looking around to see if I could spot my neighbors.

Yep, after peering closer at the man at the mailbox, I determined that he was my neighbor. Although I hardly recognize him sans polar-tek jacket, scarf and fleece cap.

It is fun to see the kids enjoying their bikes. It is amazing that kids can ride up and down the driveway or street for hours on end.

In addition, all the outside toys seem new again thanks to the forced separation of winter.

I am amazed at how many people come outside for the first few warm rays of spring, but I am even more amazed how quickly people tire of the outside and disappear back inside.

Sure the months of April and May bring everyone outside but as May turns to June the streets and yards become empty.

I have observed this over many spring-summer seasons. As you can imagine having three rambunctious children requires that I turn them out for exercise everyday.

During the coldest months, we are inside more then out but come spring we go outside as soon as humanly possible and from then on only storms keep us inside.

While we stay out all summer. I notice not many other people do, they come out and enjoy the first warm days of spring and then poof they are gone back inside their abodes. What a shame, they miss some wonderful outside time.

This phenomenon rarely varies and it isn't just limited to the adults.

Warm weather brings kids out to play in the yard, and adults venture out to clean up the winter-ravaged lawn.

Once the initial clean up is done and it starts getting hot instead of warm the adults go inside along with a majority of the kids.

I guess the lure or high-speed internet and Sponge Bob Square Pants trumps sunshine and green grass.

Why isn't outside attractive all summer?

I understand why it isn't attractive on a cold rainy early spring afternoon. Just yesterday, I sent the kids out to frolic in the puddles but stayed inside myself.

It was just too wet and cold for me to do anything outside. I can't just stand there in the damp watching. At least in winter after shoveling and salting I can build snowmen and throw snowballs. What can I do when it is misting?

Although, once the weather is nice I am outside all the time. If I am not doing something in the yard or garden then I am just sitting outside reading a book while the kids are rampaging.

Oddly enough, I don't see many other people outside. It is like the once the newness of the spring/summer weather wears off they no longer interested in being outside.

Of course, this doesn't apply the hardcore gardeners who are out there battling aphids and what not every day. This also doesn't apply to people who engage in outdoor sports, like biking and hiking.

Those nuts are out riding when it is raining, snow; hailing and locusts are raining down.

No I wonder why people are so quick to run out in the first blush of spring but then go back and hide inside all the other days.

Yes, there still are things that need to doing inside. Lord, I know, I do go inside while the munchkins play outside to get things tidied up...but I come back outside. I would rather be sitting outside on a beautiful day then anywhere else.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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