Here is the thing about New Jersey: it has seasons. It has apple-picking weather, pumpkin-carving weather, frigid, hibernating weather, cherry blossom weather, and melt-your-bones weather. It’s going to be 100 degrees this Friday. Between the heat and the humidity, it’s almost like living in Houston again. Here’s how it’s different: winter.
I don’t know if long-time residents carry this with them subconsciously or not, but I definitely feel it. Just when I want to complain about the heat, I think, “Five months from now, I’ll be begging for this.” I wish I could store the sunshine in a jar and let it out a thin sliver at a time. It would be the perfect antidote to ice storms, blizzards, or February doldrums.
Well, I can’t store sunshine, but I can store blueberries. Jacob and I picked blueberries last week and I made freezer jam last night. I hope, when it’s cold and blowy out, we can open a jar and warm up. I hope I remember the sandy soil, the oppressive heat, and the ripe berries flirting with me from beneath bright green leaves. Jacob wanted to pick berries so badly! I wouldn’t let him because they are just the right size to choke a baby, so he spent most of our berry-picking time crying (or sneaking fistfuls of berries out of the can tied to my waist. He mashed them in his fist and then tried to shove his fist in his mouth.). He sat in the sand, tearing up big fistfuls of earth and eating it (verdict: less tasty than beach sand, but still interesting). The grass was too intimidating for him to crawl into, but he really wanted to. I slathered him in sunscreen, so everything– sand, berries, dead bugs– stuck to him.
I hope, in February, that I remember all this: the warm sunshine, the smell of sunscreen, the grit of the sand, the sweetness of the berries, and a darling dirty little boy.