Crazy, I know, but I played golf on Thursday in my regular 9 hole golf league. Given that most of the women complain about just about everything (It's too hot, too cold, too buggy, too slow, too windy), I was surprised to see that seven of the sixteen members had shown up.
Most of the week I had spent cocooned in my air conditioned house with occasional forays to the garage to get into my air conditioned car. I might as well be living in Arizona. When I walked down the driveway Thursday afternoon to pick up the mail, it didn't seem that bad--there was a breeze blowing the hot, humid air around and I was determined to get outside and enjoy the summer. The Paramus course had to look better than the British Open's burned out fairways with tall, yellow fescue, waving invitingly from the deep rough.
Even with benefit of a golf cart, layers of sunscreen and several bottles of water, I had to admit I was waivering by hole 5. I tried to stay in the shade, but the sun was intense, beating down on us, as we chased our putts down. I felt a shortness of breath, climbing back into the cart. Not even the fact that I parred the hole seemed to help and I thought about tossing in the (wet) golf towel and retreating to the clubhouse, which was an easy ride from the 6th hole.
Then we saw it. The 6th hole. A desert traveler's seductive mirage. Four sprinklers gently undulated, creating double rainbows all the way down the fairway. It was beautiful, as though we had finally arrived in the colorized land of Oz, leaving behind dusty, dry, black and white Kansas.
"We're saved!" I yelled to my similarly fading teammates. After the tee shot, I drove straight towards the sprinklers, careening the cart in figure eights around the cool jets of water. I got out and walked slowly through the arching sprays, feeling like a kid again. My cautious and reluctant fellow players laughed at me "You're all wet." "Come on," I urged them, "we'll be dry by the next hole."
From that moment on, the round changed. We were exuberant at cooling off and recapturing, if only for an instant, the simple thrill and careless abandon of youth, running through a sprinkler on a sultry afternoon with no worries or decisions beyond what ice cream we'd get from the Good Humor man, the summer stretching out before us with long, lazy days and endless possibility.
Ahh...isn't that what summer's all about?