When my mother saw the weather forecast for last weekend, she sent an email to family members: "Is anyone interested in a picnic?"
On Sunday, the temperatures went into the seventies. We met at Pretty Colour Lakes, bringing sandwiches and fruit, wearing shorts and t-shirts. The sun felt hot as it shone down through the leafless branches, and soon we were drawn away from the picnic tables and to the lake. We weren't the only family who had the idea for a Sunday picnic – the usually quiet park was filled with children playing in the wet sand, teenagers wading in the water, adults relaxing in the sun.
As we walked the path around the lake, a trail shaded by cedar trees and smelling of mulch, we passed a teenager fishing, some kids skipping stones, a couple walking their dog, and a group of friends sunbathing on the bank. Even though signs at the park strictly forbid swimming or even wading, the water was too tempting to resist. I could hear joyful splashes as dogs and people leaped into the cold lake.
It was hard to retreat from the carefree summer atmosphere of the park and return home to the usual Sunday night chores. I emptied the ice chest we had brought and left it in the kitchen, knowing we'd be using it again soon. My husband and Shaggy Hair went out to take out the garbage and came back in the house looking puzzled.
"We found the garbage cans in the ditch, still filled with garbage," my husband said. He seemed surprised by this turn of events, as if he had not been driving past those same garbage cans every time he backed out of the driveway all week long.
"Yeah, the snowplow knocked them in last week, and they were buried for a few days."
"Was that snowstorm only a week ago?"
The breeze came in through the open door. My bare arms and legs had tanned already, and Shaggy Hair's face was pink with sunburn. The snowshovels propped up against the doorway seemed entirely superfluous.
With-a-Why, Shaggy Hair Boy, and Blonde Niece.