If you're looking for things to be grateful for, how about this summer's weather? Great for tourism, great for outdoor entertainment, great for gardens.
The North Country is more reliant on good summers than most areas for two reasons: We sell them to tourists, and we seem to have so few of them.
We advertise to tourists that we have Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains — as well as everything in between — which they can enjoy the year round, but which they will especially savor in the summer. We invite people to come for boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain climbing and camping, all of which are activities we feature that can rival any in the world.
Cold, rainy summers dampen our tourism prospects and our economic prosperity.
But, if tourists are going to come enjoy these assets, they'd better be quick about it. The season generally lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day and not much beyond in either direction. It's a shame to waste three months — about 90 days — with rain and chilly temperatures.
This year, we've seen many sunny days with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s — perfect for most summer activities. We've had a few small stretches in the 90s, which bring out the worst in some people. It's hard to listen to people who endure weather from chilly to frigid nine months of the year complaining about too much heat and humidity, but some do.
Even those too-hot days are mitigated by being by the lake, though. A dip to take the core temperature down will do it for most of us.
New York state set a record for electricity usage in July. That's attributable to air conditioners. The amount broke the record set in August 2005, according to the New York Independent System Operator. The amount used in July was 19 percent higher than was used last July.
On July 6, the state set a record for peak demand for electricity.
Those figures indicate that air conditioners were gulping power, meaning it was warm to hot.
That can only be good for regions such as ours, which cater to travelers who want to be near a lake.
When tourists arrive, they use our hotels, buy our goods, go to our movie theaters, shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants. Campers buy groceries and supplies in our outlets. They visit our museums and other destination sites.
And none of this even takes into account our own quests for diversion. As people starved for summer's warmth, we, of course, want to get outside and take advantage of all the assets around us. Tourists aren't the only ones who like fresh air, warm water, high peaks and sunshine.
So, just as a reminder, if you ever muse about the weather and wonder what it would be like to have the perfect summer, you're having it.