My father-in-law came from a long line of people who knew a fair bit about gardening, and because I loathe winter and long for summer, he would always offer words of wisdom this time of year.
I love the colours of nature in spring, summer and autumn. It’s so sad that the brilliance of fiery red, orange and yellow fall leaves end up being replaced with dull, spindly branches. Not surprisingly, one gets sick of murky beige, then grey, then white … so much white, and back to murky beige.
I always crave colour in the great out-of-doors, and this is when his advice would come into play. “Never put flowers in the ground before the first full moon in June,” he’d always suggest. Apparently we’re nearly guaranteed to be frost-free after that point.
Fair enough. Perennials are an investment, so I can be patient enough for summer to officially arrive.
But that’s not my personal main marker in time to indicate that fairer weather has legitimately arrived. There is one day each year when I make a decision to do something, and once that decision is made there is no turning back, no matter what Eddie Sheerr or Ryan Snoddon have to say.
The day that I determine for myself that summer weather has arrived is the day the socks come off. That’s right. As much as I hate having cold feet, I hate socks more. Once they come off, they don’t go back on unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Those circumstances include, but are not limited to, wearing sneakers — because I only wear sneakers if I’m exercising, and nobody likes blisters — or wearing rubber boots (same reason). Because I am a very happy bay girl who loves to fish, the rubber boots are kept handy all the time.
Last weekend, the official long weekend in May, we awoke on Saturday morning to brilliant, beautiful, dare I say hot sun, and I was stoked. The day had finally arrived. No longer would I get dressed each morning and despise the fact that foot-warmers were required. My sock drawer would herein remain closed until those blasty fall colours made their appearance.
As much as I hate having cold feet, I hate socks more. Once they come off, they don’t go back on unless there are extenuating circumstances
Shorts and tank tops were dragged out by everyone in our province, and social media was abuzz with camping and barbeCue pictures. That evening there was more than one person suffering with a sunburn, but who wouldn’t dare complain because, hooray, summer was finally here.
The next day, however, our forecast wasn’t nearly as promising. In fact, single digit temperatures were predicted, along with the three words Newfoundlanders hate the most: rain, drizzle and fog.
Too cool for shorts and tanks, but a T-shirt and handy sweatshirt was acceptable. But then it hit me: I’d drawn my line in the sand the day before. Surely I couldn’t go back on my own personal policy so quickly. The idea of taking socks out of my dresser and putting them on turned my stomach.
But single digits and dreary rain would leave me with ice-junks for feet at the end of the day.
We were heading to our place in Green’s Harbour, so here’s how the justification went in my head: “All we do is eat when we’re there, sit and eat while overlooking Trinity Bay. Well we can’t do that all the time. I know, perhaps I’ll take my sneakers and go for a nice power walk around the harbour. Yeah, that’s a great idea! Now I was only planning on taking my overnight bag, but those friggin’ sneakers will take up too much room in that little bag. I’ve got it, I’ll just wear them. Not like I’d need any other footwear there anyway. Perfect, the sneakers it is.”
A little mental game to justify breaking out the socks.
After the first full moon in June, gardening will become my exercise — flip flops only required. That, quite sadly, means fishing will have to be relegated to cooler days. But I’ll be fishing, so the good cancels out the agony of socks.