Is there any greater week to be alive than this one?

The other seasonal transitions are vague, with indistinct borders disputed anew every year. There's no firm date when winter begins. But we know it in our bones — a moment when the cold empty air and the sight of the empty trees is full of portent. We realize we've been holding onto the idea of fall too long. Let it snow.

There's no exact moment when summer ends, either. Our head makes the switch on Labor Day, but then you wake the next day, and all is verdant, the world is warm, the flowers wave in a pleasant breeze, and you think: If this isn't summer, what is?

There's nothing but woe in the tussle between winter and spring. No one trusts an early thaw. We might not remember which year had a March melt that was true, and held, and we might not be exact on whether it snowed on May 1 last year or a decade past, but we know that winter often dies hard and rough. Spring is always cautious, expecting a last rude and vindictive blow.

But this week is different. Today is the end of spring and the start of summer. Period. Even better, it's not June yet — so the whole week is a beer frame. It's a basket of warm bread that doesn't spoil our appetite for the main course. It's a week where we can experience summer without worrying about it.

Hold on, worry? Who worries about summer?

We all do, in different ways. It's a grown-up affliction. When you're a kid, summer is defined by its absence of worries. Glorious boredom. Lazy mornings watching idiotic game shows, afternoon bike rides, monster movies on late-night TV. Endlessly attenuated twilight, as the sun slides down like a hot coin and starts up the jukebox of crickets and frogs.

The only worry you have is the return of school and routine, but that lies on the other side of August, a mountainous month that separates the home country of summer from the foreign land of fall.

Adulthood, though, you worry. You have to get it all in.

Parents know what it's like to fuss about camp, to cram the days with community-center classes so the kid's head doesn't rot like a melon. You might worry about getting up north enough. Or at all. Or whether you can get away for a car trip to do that place you read about in the paper. Sounded fun. Some sort of raspberry festival. Wonder if the motels are booked. Should've checked last month.

You worry about the lawn. You worry about the windowsill on the side of the house that needs paint. You swap your worry about the heating bill for your resignation about the A/C bill. You think about the friends you were supposed to have over for that perfect summer dinner; everyone's been meaning to, and here it is July, and you should really call them up before ...

Before the summer is over.

Gah! What a horrible thought. But there's something in the Minnesota soul that accepts the shortness of summer's reign. If we didn't find meaning and identity in the rotation of seasonal melodies, we'd be Californians, living in a dial-tone paradise. It's the brevity of summer's song that makes you listen closely and savor each note.

Or at least it should. We won't listen now, because we're at that point where everything is lush and colorful, and it seems like the right and proper state of the world, again. We won!

All those summer worries are still a ways off, if you think of them at all. You shouldn't. We're all looking forward — but yet, today, we pause. It's fitting that this interlude begins on Memorial Day, a holiday of graveyards.

The headstones are as white and hard as winter drifts.

The grass on the graves is green. The roots push down into the earth, and the blades rise up to the sun, again, into the bright blaze of a Minnesota morning.