This week has been typical pre-autumnal fare in New England. A tropical day followed by a sweatshirt day followed by a knee-high rubber boots day. Now the sun shines again, and somewhere in the yellow I find the energy and strength to recap for you the meteorological schizophrenia.
On Monday it occured to me that I am far more optimistic than I give myself credit for. It was a startling realization that came on the sandaled heels of summer. The day before had been balmy. Why I assumed that trend would continue is beyond me. I'm usually a glass-half-empty type girl, and I've lived in Connecticut long enough to know that a little skepticism in regard to the weather (or most anything, really) is healthy. But there I was with The Boss (that's what we call my two year old daughter around these parts), standing in our driveway, both of us donning sundresses and flip flops.
The Boss hugged into herself, bracing each forearm with the opposite palm. "Cold and rainy!" she chattered. A fine, fine mist was a veil all around us, fusing invisibly to our forms. I sighed. Then I scooped up The Boss and deposited her into her car seat. I grabbed a sweater from the pile of discarded items pooling on the floor in front of her. I wrapped it around her like a blanket. "Cold and rainy," she repeated in that pitiable lament. I looked down at her, her sweet face magnified by a bulbous drop of rain on my eyelash. So young. So not-yet-jaded.
I shut the door and walked around to the driver's side. I settled into my seat and put the key in the ignition. The mist on my head turned into disparate drops of water as I shook out my hair. "We're just going to have to deal with it."
The next day, the veil had intensified into sheets of rain. Everything was gray, except for the roads, which were vivid black. I drove toward our playgroup with slightly less concentration than the conditions required. Somewhere near the skinny diner filled with fat patrons, my wheels bit into a puddle that threatened to swallow the car whole. We went slightly sideways. There was a steady line of cars coming toward us in the other lane. I took my foot off the gas while both hands remained tight and white on the wheel. I was silent, but I heard a voice from the car seat behind me.
"Oh, man!" The Boss's outburst was not so much fearful as resigned. It was the recognition that her mother was a crappy driver. It was the articulated awareness that life is an adventure over which nobody, least of all a two year old, has any control. Oh, man. Turns out a toddler can be jaded after all.
The car righted itself and we sailed on through.
*Mark Twain, from a speech on the weather