I espy two squirrels frolicking at the base of a tree: they chase each other’s tails, tumble, and scramble. Spurred on, surely, by the warm waft of air that smells decidedly different, decidedly like spring. The birds, cacophonous, chatter animatedly about returning from their trips south, nest building, and baby birthing. Spring is definitely my favorite season. But I am fickle. I favor winter when the first snowfall quiets everything in a white velvet blanket. I savor summer the minute my toes touch the hot Compo sand. And I thrill to the scent of fireplaces burning wood to ward off the first chill in the air. Every season is my favorite season.
Or, maybe it’s the change – the newness – that I really look forward to. I was born and raised in and around New York, where the steps of the library, the Met, and every inch of even concrete parks overflowed with pasty office workers poking out of their holes like Punxsutawney Phil when the sun began to hint at warmth in the city. During college years in Vermont, any temperature above freezing was cause to strip down to shorts and tee shirts and lounge on the Adirondack chairs that dotted campus.
When I moved to Los Angeles, where I lived for 10 years, I would fall over myself to spend as much time outside when the temperature was 72 degrees to take full advantage of the gift of good weather. Until I realized that, plus or minus five degrees, it’s always 72. At first, I reveled in the “sunny” in Southern California. But over the years the evergreen palm fronds bored me. I craved a cloud, a cool breeze. No one ever seemed to age in Los Angeles. Or if they did, they were moved to one of the enormous retirement communities located close enough for relatives to visit but far enough away to not remind the vain and largely plastic “industry” folk of what natural aging looks like. The weather seemed to mirror the population: artificial.
I migrated back east, in part, because I missed that essential part of the natural rhythm of life that Los Angeles lacked: the seasons. Of course just as we arrived – to the D.C. area – a heat wave gripping the east coast made living in a new place with a new baby difficult. No, the seasons are not perfect. Sometimes it’s too hot. Sometimes it’s too cold. But often, it’s just right.
So as I watch the squirrels scamper, I think about how I will savor the rising temperatures, longer days, and budding flora. But I will also appreciate the blustery, rainy days, because it’s all part of the package. The yin and the yang that make our experience of life more whole. Snowy winters make warm Sound water sweeter. And sweltering summers make wind chills more invigorating. I will drink in the best every season has to offer, toasting to usher in the new one, and to say “au revoir” to the one on the way out.
Photo by Sally Allen