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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, April 13, 2012

I dreaded that first Rainbow, so

On these April mornings the clouds blast across the sky, looking shapely as thunderheads in July, then dissolving into a gray winter fog. The winds, now warm, now cold, ruffle the bay in a patchwork of herringbone. Rain pelts down; the sun comes out five minutes later. The weathervane swirls, helpless to offer guidance. Inside, north and south thoughts swirl. Minute by minute in April summer approaches and withdraws. I’m thrillingly called to be outside, to escape wintry traps of the mind, but if I go, it will be cold and wet.

That’s what summer in Maine builds on, the chill and wet and bluster of spring. It’s not helped this year by that aching week of false summer in March, raising expectations of months of warm sun on bare skin, sinking them unbearably a few days later. These days I desperately want the thermometer to stay in the 50s for more than 10 minutes and the weather vane to stop pointing north and the green leaves just to grow, damn it. I want to open the panes of glass to the embrace of air. In April glass is a prison, not a protection.

But for penance there is a reward. At the end of the day, a day particularly full of pelting clouds and bashful sun, a rainbow appears, promising grace, arcing halfway across the sky to the place where the cloud edge ends sharply in blue. And just to the north a double arc, small and faint and cold, shadows its glory.

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