In our seasonal mom-and-pop motel, in Down East Maine, every season has its unique signs, and over the years we learned to sense the seasons, even before they officially began, by the many subtle signs that precede.
This year I missed all the cues. When the days got longer, and the grass greener and in the morning the first wild lily, along the ditch, opened her orange head, I should have known. It is July again.
When the first red leaves shined at me from behind the unified green coat on the old maple tree in the front yard, I should have known. Every summer about this time we look at these red leaves and ponder; is this a sign of fall coming earlier, or the tree is showing the first signs of decline?
When I mowed the grass, zooming from side to side on my green John Deere did I miss the changes in the wildflowers population, not dandelions with their silvery white heads but small yellow buttercups glistening with the morning dew and Hawk- weeds dotted here and there with a white head of a daisy or the red of a red clover.
The mornings heavy with the night’s moisture, the sun barely seen behind the dense fog, the cardinal on the bird feeder and an occasional turkey waddling in the backyard
All these signs went right by me until last night when the lady from room 19 walked into the lobby and said, half apologetically that she cannot change the channels on her TV and by the way there was an ant in the bathroom, but it is not a big deal, they get them at home all the time in July.
Then the man from room 21 joined to ask for help for his kid who locked himself in the bathroom.
The young lady, from room 18 couldn’t get the cold water to flaw in her shower.
“Only hot water,” she said, “cannot shower like that.”
Room 9 locked the door but then remembered that he left the key (and perhaps his wife) in the room, do we have a spare key? He did not forget to lock his car though because in the midst of all these the car’s alarm started howling.
And the nice man from room 2 while doing his laundry broke the nob of the dryer.
I took a deep breath, looked at my husband who was at that exact moment changing the pages on the calendar.
He pointed at the new page, that declared in bold letters – July.
Summer season snuck on us for the first time in twelve years.