How Would We Celebrate Summer?

The show Northern Exposure is now streaming on Amazon, (with original music, fans!) and last night, I watched the episode, First Snow.  In it, the residents of Cicely, Alaska, are preparing for the long, hard winter. This ranges from eating heavy meals to try and gain weight, fixing up their homes to be cozy, and even, for the mayor, estimating how many people might die over the winter, so he can dig enough graves before the ground freezes.

What struck me is that they are going through all of this preparation with a spirit of joyful anticipation. There is a celebratory mood in town. When the first snow begins falling, they stream out onto the main street to happily wish each other, “Bon Iver!” or Happy Winter.

After watching the episode, the meteorologist for Austin informed me that this is going to be a warm week, going into the 80s, though it is only February.

As a lifelong Texan, I have never been a fan of our hot summers. When I was “candidating” at Live Oak (meeting with everyone so we could determine if we were a good fit for each other), I was asked in a public forum what I liked to do in the summer. “Escape to the mountains,” I answered honestly. There was a bit of concern, but happily y’all called me to be your minister anyway.

But last summer was really something else, wasn’t it? We broke all the records for hottest summer. It brought home the realities of climate change, and for many of us, it was miserable. We worried about the grid, and our air conditioning units being able to keep chugging away. I know I’m not the only one who looks with some dread toward the upcoming summer months, wondering if it will be that bad…or worse.

Well, when I can’t change reality, I do try, if it’s possible, to change my attitude. And so this episode of Northern Exposure has me thinking…if they could spin their experiences into the positive, might I? Might we, as a community?

What would it look like, if we were about to celebrate the summer, to wish each other “Bon été!” How would we prepare our homes, our church, ourselves?

I am all for fighting against climate destruction…AND, this is the reality that we will live in right now. How can we shift our experience of it?