Do you know the Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day”?
If you don't, I don't recommend your reading it during this incredible wet season we're having. Wait 'til we're having a drought. Wait 'til you're craving a little moist air on your cheek when you go outside to do yard work. 'Til you want to make like a bird and rinse off in a puddle.
I've been thinking about Bradbury's story a lot these past several stormy, flooding weeks when I look northwest out the CourierTraveler window at the corner of E. Ninth Avenue and Millington Street and I see the thunderheads building up near Udall and Rock. Some afternoons they're so white they're dazzling. Some afternoons, like today, they are grey and black and downright menacing. Once in a while, a bolt of lightning seems to shoot between the city building and Luigi's, making me step back. Then the clap of thunder startles me and Courier cat Queso, who goes looking for someplace away from the windowsill or my desk so he can get back to his basic job of sleeping.
“All Summer in a Day” is a story about Venus, which scientists once thought was very rainy. In the story, the sun comes out for one hour one afternoon every seven years. Are you depressed yet?
A little girl recently come from Earth has been telling her classmates about the sun — how often it shines, what it looks like, what it feels like, how fun it is to play outside all day. Of course, the other kids hate her.
They are so jealous that when they realize the sun is going to come out, they lock her in a room and forget about her while they play for that precious hour. Only when they are running back inside as the rain starts again do they remember her and let her out.
I grew up in New England where we had a lot of cloudy weather, a lot of rain and snow, many fewer days of sun than of overcast skies. When I first came out here, now more than 25 years ago, all the sunny days drove me crazy. I felt like I always had to be “on.” The days were so bright, I had to be bright, too, accomplishing, up and doing.
When we were kids, my mother had the radio tuned to “The Breakfast Club” with Don McNeill every morning. If you never heard the show, it ran for 35 years on the radio out of Chicago. According to Wikipedia, McNeill is credited as the first successful talk/variety show host.
My mother loved the show, and she especially loved it to get us going — every 15 minutes there was a “call to breakfast,” and we were supposed to get up and march around the table. I don't remember if we really marched or if my mother just encouraged us by singing along, “Good morning Breakfast Clubbers, good morning to ya, we woke up bright and early just to howdy-do ya. ...”
But all that Kansas sunshine put me right back to those get-up-and-go, energetic, bright mornings around the breakfast table at 8 Park Street in Lee, Massachusetts.
I imagine a lot of people are depressed with all this rain and humidity and grayness. I say turn on every light in the house. And turn on some music that gets you up and moving. Unfortunately, the Breakfast Club went off the air in 1968, but you can still get up and march around the breakfast, lunch or dinner table if you want to. (Think about those little kids who march at the weekly Winfield Municipal Band concerts. Maybe Trudy Yingling will give you a cookie, too.)
And don't let anybody lock you in a closet.
Judith Zaccaria is the Winfield News Manager of the CourierTraveler. You can reach her at email@example.com.