It's been sunny and breezy, if not precisely warm the last couple of days. So, being the good Irish housewife I'm becoming, I have been spending quite a bit of time at the clothesline. Every time I go out, I am struck afresh by how much it feels like a mid-Atlantic autumn.
Late April in Dublin reminds me of nothing quite so much as football weather. It's that crisp feel of those late September night games. Those evenings when you begin to eye the boys, trying to decide which one might be coaxed out of his jacket. Somehow that sweater that seemed so more than adequate, really, at 3, is obviously lacking at 7. In Ireland, it's always that 7:00 chill. It's that undercurrent of cool that seems to herald more on the way even though you know it's nearly May, for pity's sake. It's the subliminal message to put up your stores and start a fire. I keep expecting to smell woodsmoke and hear the distant cadence of the percussion warm-up. It's not exactly cold. It doesn't quite cross the line. But, the sun can never quite keep up with the cool of the air and the persistent effort of the sea winds. The delight of visiting with Sol makes brief forays enjoyable; your cheeks will be rosy; you will offer the clouds a pleasant moment of contemplation. But, as you approach 10 or maybe 15 minutes, you will vaguely wish you had gloves and burrow your hands slightly deeper into your pockets. You will think longingly of warm cups of tea. You will wonder when, exactly, might you expect to feel Warm. I keep being slightly startled by the way the days continue to get longer.
There is nothing of the experience of a spring I am used to. It seems that in the US, there is more of an up and down nature to things. While there might be some days like those I described, they are quickly interspersed with the days that herald the warmth of a somewhat southern summer. There is the smell of wet earth, freshly turned; hay just starting to peek out it's green; the early daffodils and tulips and hyacinths with a wild hair are unabashedly offering their come hither blooms. While the late afternoon might call for a jacket, if not a coat, there is almost always the glory of the mid-afternoon when you set the children loose on the pre-school playground at noon, packing lunches and disrupting naps with wild abandon. There are baby ducks to feed and the promise of warm to come whispering through the cool breezes. You mind turns to the promise of watermelon and cherries and you hastily shove away thoughts of sprinklers and fireworks as too much, too soon... just enjoy the glory of the spring.
Of course, it does make sense. My friends report highs in the low 70s (f) for today. Dublin won't see that until July and then it will be called High Summer and be cause for swimming in the sea to escape the glorious heat. The plants bloom in a stately manner, none stepping on the toes of another. The hydrangea are only now conducting feasibility studies to decide if they might want to add on foliage. The lilacs are starting to bud. The daffodils have been in their glory for months and are only now giving way to the pansies. The Irish spring will last through next October so it must pace itself.
Yes, if you come to Ireland, be sure to pack an extra cardigan and maybe a Letterman jacket if you can scrounge one.