It was a welcome relief to get that cool, dry air Wednesday night, easing the irritation we’ve all felt for the last several days.

Even our cats were looking worn out from the heat, lying on their backs on the deck, with paws up in the air, as if in a trance.

Sometimes they’d just look at us as if to say, “What’s with this heat?”

I’m reminded of all those frigid days in January and February when we growled about the weather, wishing winter would end and finding solace in any glimmer of sunshine that might emerge.

Like our cats, who always seem to be on the wrong side of the door, we humans surely are a fickle bunch.

First it’s too hot; then it’s too cold. We get bored, but then when there’s too much to do, we’re overwhelmed.

But a good thing about us Mainers is that we love a change of season.

After a long summer full of parties and traveling and company, we’re relieved to see the tourists go, the kids go back to school and the steamy weather dissipate.

It’s a time of slowing down, settling in, getting back to a sense of normalcy, and preparing for the long winter ahead.

Then we love to see the snow come, blanketing the brown earth, just in time for the holidays. We hunker down, enjoying the warmth of a wood stove or fireplace.

But after the wind has blown cold for weeks and the snow keeps coming down, wreaking havoc with our old bones, we long for spring. When it gets here, we can’t wait for summer.

Then if it’s too sunny, we seek shade; too hot, we retreat to indoor air conditioning; too dry, and we pray for rain; two wet, and we want dry.

As much as we crave a change in season, we’re happy when it ends. We’re an peculiar breed, we New Englanders, but I think our need for and love of change contributes to our character and lively personalities.

I can’t imagine living in a climate that never changes. How dull that would be. How costly and time-consuming, having to travel, from a warm climate, for example, every time we wanted to go skiing. Why leave if we have the best of both worlds, right here?

When I was a sophomore in high school, our English teacher, Muriel Dubuc, entered the classroom one day, smiled and, without saying a word, wrote “Variety is the Spice of Life,” on the blackboard.

Then she asked us all to write an essay about the topic.

Mrs. Dubuc was one of my favorite teachers, and I pursued her directive in earnest. I don’t remember what I wrote in that essay, which I still have packed away somewhere, but I’ve never forgotten her assignment and the way she scrawled the words across the board.

I loved the challenge of trying to decipher their meaning, rooting out proper examples, and finding the right words to present my case.

I’m sure our young, inexperienced minds came up with some reasonable ideas back then; but 40 years later, wouldn’t we hit the ball out of the park?

A lifetime of adventures has taught us that variety is, indeed, the spice of life. The more we see, do and explore, the happier we are, and the more compelling personalities we become.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter for 24 years. Her column appears here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]


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