This weekend is the start of summer, or, as the pessimists see it, the start of the end of summer. It's the only season whose conclusion seems built in to the official beginning. The mind leaps ahead: June zips by, then it's the Fourth, then the family vacation, then the State Fair: bang. School and bonfires, the nip in the air.
Winter sets in like a Soviet occupation, but summer is a passing parade. Hope yours was good! Sorry, will be good.
It's hard not to look ahead when the Dollar Store puts out patriotic bunting in the middle of May. Just in case you wanted to bunt. Anyway, some advice for the new season:
Boating safety: Officials remind you that power-boat jousting matches are the leading cause of people being knocked into the water by a pole striking them in the sternum, so always wear your vests.
If you fish, throw a few back. They have great stories to tell other fish. No one probably believes them, though, so write something on their side with a Sharpie. It'll probably start a new religion. When you come back next year, the fish will surround your boat and beg to be caught, and someone will come trolling alongside, watching fish jump in your boat as you shout "one at a time, one at a time."
Always buckle up when driving up to the cabin. I know, I know: You like the liberating feel of wind in your hair as you're ejected from the vehicle, but it's not wise.
Grill safely! If the propane grill does not light up right away, turn the gas on full, lean in close, and use a lighter so you can see if there's any blockage. Side note: Eyebrows are an evolutionary holdover that serve no real purpose, so don't worry. And they'll probably grow back. (Obligatory legal disclaimer: Obviously, that's not true. Don't do it. But really, would you? Because it's in the newspaper? Do you also believe Garfield is a cat that thinks in English about lasagna?)
Spend at least one afternoon lying in the grass, looking up at the limpid sky, watching the clouds sail past like the ghosts of bygone galleons, remembering what it was like to be a kid and feel as though summer lasted forever. Stay there until you're bored, and wish school would start. It's a great cure for summer -- but I prefer to remain afflicted as long as possible.