MOTHER NATURE seems to be conspiring very nicely with Brother Opec, since she has made unattractive what he has made unattainable. It's called leisure, the kind of inactivity people used to seek on "vacations" [if you recall the term] and which was once enjoyed during what were known as the "spring" and "summer" months. These "vacations" required gasoline, to be sure, but they also required sunshine. Gasoline is not to be had, neither evidently is sunshine. The Lord taketh away, and the Lord taketh away.

What is not going on here? Having evidenced an admirable esprit-de-shortage, waiting with the patience of saints in gas lines that look like gopher parades, block after block after block; having shown courage in adversity and stiff upper lips and shoulders to grindstones and all that and then some, must Washingtons also be made to suffer the cats and dogs of outrageous fortune? On the blessed few occasions when it has not actually been raining these past months, the sky has borne the complexion of a battleship. A bright, cloudless weekend is not within memory. Is this a plague?

The American people can take a lot, but enough already. Tom Paine, who talked about other times that tried men's souls derided sunshine patriots, but even the deepest partriotism requires a little sunshine; and when the sun cannot manage a peep on July Fourth, one's love of country is stretched to the limits. Into each life a little rain must fall, of course. But isn't it written that the sun also rises?