×

Editorial: The Joys
 Of Summer



Thursday, October 02, 2014
Before consigning summer 2014 to the dustbin of memory, let’s tie up some loose ends.

First, the weather: With the dark season on the near horizon, we’re trying to remember when late summer and early autumn treated the Upper Valley to more lovely weather than they did this year. Once the morning fog burned off, one cool, bright day succeeded another in a brisk march toward the inevitable autumnal equinox. The early foliage also seems more vivid than in recent years, with lots of deep reds and brilliant oranges providing a visual exclamation point. Muted yellows certainly have their quiet charm, but, all in all, we prefer summer to go out in a blaze of glory. Of course, delightful as those sunny days were and as arresting as the foliage show may now be, we all know how this ends: As Robert Frost put it, nothing gold can stay.

And while we’re on the subject of how things end, baseball’s regular season has concluded and somehow the Red Sox roller coaster ride from worst to first and back to worst didn’t seem to demoralize the Boston faithful as much as one would expect. Maybe that’s because last season’s World Series championship was so unexpected that its afterglow cast this year’s disaster in a softer light. It’s doubtful that the fans will be so understanding next season, so General Manager Ben Cherington, the pride of Plainfield, will be called upon to work his roster magic again. Fortunately, he seems to have already assembled some of the key players going forward.

The national pastime also bid Derek Jeter adieu this year, and at the risk of being ungracious, we’re bound to say that Yankee shortstop’s long — and we do mean long — goodbye to an exemplary career was too much of a good thing. As with so much else in American life these days, the media attention paid to his departure lacked any sense of proportion — not to mention seeming to be at odds with Jeter’s general approach to the humbling game of baseball.

This wretched excess reminded us of a slogan we saw billboarded on a telecommunications company’s van the other day: “Talk more, pay less.” What a concept. If there is anything this nation could use less of, it’s talk, which is already far too cheap. We have a different rate structure in mind: a surcharge for every word uttered over the bare minimum needed to convey whatever information is at hand. Such progressive taxation, or perhaps, talksation, would certainly unclutter the airwaves, and maybe even the national mind.

That, however, is not in the cards. Instead, we have the mid-term elections to look forward to, or dread, as you will. The prospect is dispiriting to say the least, and not only because the rhetoric will be largely devoid of content. Worse yet is that absence of substance largely defines not only our politics but also our national conversation and culture. This cannot be a good thing at a time when the world sometimes seems to have gone mad. It is a small blessing that in the bubble in which we are privileged to live here in the Upper Valley, a little fine weather and a canopy of brightly colored leaves can speak eloquently for themselves as the days dwindle down.