Here comes the sun

As a species, we have a responsibility to future generations to do better.

Those who have lived in the Pacific Northwest long enough are a bit guarded when it comes to the spring sun.

Like clockwork, February always brings a “false spring” — a weekend when the sun peeks out, and for the first time in the year, you can doff your coat and enjoy the warm sun on your arms. Then the clouds return and temperatures crash back down for another month. After three months of pure gray sky, it’s easy to feel a little heartbroken.

Winter is not easy for those of us living above the 45th parallel north, marking the approximate halfway point between Earth’s equator and the North Pole. Our nights grow long and dark as our hazy, gray days tremble. But we also find time to read, reflect, and connect with family and our communities. Winter has a beauty all its own, and to bemoan it is to rob oneself of enjoyment for an entire quarter of the year.

But as of this week, winter is over. Last weekend’s sunburst featured temperatures in the high sixties across the island — though it is scheduled to fade back into regular March programming by the time this edition of The Beachcomber is out.

Given our planet’s changing climate, this is probably for the best. Washington broke or tied daily temperature records in Seattle and at the airports at Sea-Tac, Olympia, and Bellingham on March 17, according to the National Weather Service.

Call us wet blankets, but it’s true: U.S. summers are, on average, getting hotter, according to research last year from Columbia University. We should not appreciate such a nice early spring day without, at the very least, acknowledging climate change — and the human activity that is the primary driver of it.

As a species, we have a responsibility to future generations to do better.

In the meantime, we must keep living. Listen to the choruses of frogs at night; gaze at the charming couples cropping up for weekend getaways in town; smell the blooming flowers and the earthy petrichor: There’s no doubt spring has sprung.

Symptoms of exposure to spring weather may include a ravenous desire to ride a bike, an impulsive purchase of jean shorts, and an unexplainable urge to grab a guitar and channel Julie Andrews at your local park.

Forlorn midweek gazes out the window, as the afternoon sun bathes your desk at work, are not uncommon either.

But as you feel the feral anticipation of sunny weather, remember to stop and smell the roses — and don’t fall for the fear of missing out.

Life will go on, even if you fail to cram a hike, birding session, outdoor patio lunch, and golden hour photo session into one madcap day. It’s okay to take it easy. Some of nature’s best joys are experienced in the slow lane.

And just as the hummingbird squeaks, the orca breaches, and the ants march, so too, will the sun rise tomorrow — and once again, we’ll face a world worthy of protecting, healing, and enjoying.