Editorial: Glimpsing Silver Linings; Sunshiney View on Cloudy Days

As we leafed through the paper Wednesday morning after returning to the office from a stretch of sunny vacation days, the extended weather forecast caught our eye: An orderly parade of little gray icons, some adorned with rain drops, marched across the page as far as the eye could see. It’s hard to explain why this prospect of a sunless future did not fill our soul with total despondency, but we’ll give it a try.

To be sure, we are aware that a substantial portion of whatever fine weather the Upper Valley enjoys during a given year generally comes in the months of May, June and July, and that any deficit in warm sunny days and comfortable nights incurred during those months is unlikely to be made up at other times during the year. The weather ledger is certainly not working in our favor so far this year, which, the Valley News also informed us on Wednesday , may have something to do with the jet stream being out of whack. Whatever’s going on, it’s not pretty, and additional heavy rainfall has raised flood warnings in Vermont this weekend — which is the last thing the Green Mountain state needs with the memories of destruction from Tropical Storm Irene still fresh.

But it is in the nature of editorial writers to seek silver linings in cloudy icons, and it is possible to find a few even in the face of a forecast of unremittingly gray, humid days. Here are a few that come to mind.

We can remember one July several years ago when the opacity of the sky was exceeded only by that of the book we were trying to read: Mont Saint Michel and Chartres, by Henry Adams. There is only the remotest chance that we would have finished that classic work if the sunny outdoors had beckoned. It seemed like a book meant to be read in subdued light. So instead of indulging a taste for light fiction in summer, take advantage of this humid hundred days to haul down from the shelves some tome that has intimidated you for far too long and dispatch it.

It also occurs to us that this kind of weather is well-suited to testing putative friendships with weekend house guests. There is nothing quite like being confined to the house as hosts to people one does not know intimately to find out where one’s companionship interests truly lie. Being able to escape outside to pleasant weather presents no such acid test.

And speaking of the household arts, reluctant grillers enjoy blanket immunity from unwanted duties when rain reigns. No one can reasonably be expected to cook outside when a thorough soaking of chef and food may result. Conversely, there is excellent opportunity to curry favor with a significant other by plunging selflessly into the gloom to prepare a delicious dinner.

This kind of summer weather also affords an opportunity to sample one of baseball’s dying arts — radio announcers filling a long rain delay with an seductive amalgam of anecdote, reminiscence, interview and stream-of-consciousness reflection that makes the long minutes of interruption slip by into the night as effort lessly as a one-two-three inning. Talk about existential errands.