I had a flatmate who once told me about the term That Day. That’s what she and her housemates in college had labeled that first perfect spring day in Michigan after a long winter. Those of you from the Midwest know what I’m talking about. If you went to the University of Michigan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It happens in that time after the snow and ice thaw, when the ground is finally dry, flowers are blooming, people are starting to come out from hibernation, and then there’s that first day when the sun shines especially brightly, the sky is a brilliant blue, and you can actually take your jacket off! You might even be able to wear a tee-shirt. If you drive a car, you delight in feeling your back against the seat, without multiple thick layers in between. You roll the windows down. You don’t even want to be in your car; you want to be out walking, running, riding a bike, rollerblading. At the university, it’s that day when everyone is on the Diag. Everyone. They’re playing frisbee, they’re lying on the grass with their significant others. They’re sitting in circles of girlfriends eating lunch from Bruegger’s Bagels. They have textbooks open, pretending to study. Guys and girls stop and flirt in the middle of the Diag on their way to meet other friends. Guys sit under trees alone reading. Girls lay out on the grass. Classes are half empty because you can’t not skip class on That Day.
As a kid in New York, I remember That Day being the day we unpacked summer clothes. I could look forward to wearing shorts and flip-flops and playing outside more.
Today is That Day in Beira. But in reverse. We have endured a long miserable summer and are looking forward to winter. The recent rain has been cooling things off a bit, but it’s still been quite muggy. Then last night I slept without a fan for the first time! And this morning I woke up to the brightest blue sky I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe I’m making this up, but I swear the sky is a brighter blue when there’s less humidity. Everything looks brighter today – the sky, the greens of the plants, the reds and pinks and whites of the flowers in our office garden. The sun is shining brightly, but I just don’t feel the heat like I have been the past several months, and I don’t feel the humidity today. I have yet to begin sweating today. The local weather forecast says we’re having a high of 82F (28C) and a low of 66F (19C)! The breeze is gently blowing, and I can’t stop looking at the papaya and mango trees outside my window and the blue sky behind them. Pretty soon I’ll be able to sleep with covers on at night and drink tea without sweating and wear jeans and shirts with sleeves! I can’t skip work or eat lunch outside or play frisbee, but I might just sit on my veranda and read when I get home and enjoy the last hour or so of That Day.