Mike and I were talking the other day about this newfound appreciation we have for the seasons. Both of us grew up in the South and when you’re born and raised in the same area until your teenage years you don’t realize that not everyone else experiences the same hot and humid summers, gorgeous spring and fall seasons and a generally mild winter. And you don’t really complain about it or think about it because it’s all you know. What do you have to compare it to? Of course you know the weather is different in different parts of the world, but you don’t really think about it. Until you move.
We moved to the Santa Barbara area in July 2008…the central coast of California that year was having an unusually hot summer, which we didn’t know at the time. It wasn’t humid at all, but it was that lovely “sun on your back” hot feeling that you experience west of the rockies without experiencing your makeup running off your face from humidity. We enjoyed almost a month and a half of what we considered lovely weather, although it was not a good mix with fire season, before the fog set in. Most of the coast in California experiences heavy fog, and again, if you’ve never seen it you really can’t imagine it. Heavy, dense, cold, wet fog that is so low to the ground you can walk through it. Southern California usually has “May Grey” where most of the month is covered in a gloomy fog. Where we lived, it occurred in June, with the title of “June Gloom.” Except in 2008 it happened late that year and most of August and even some of September was terribly gloomy. We were, to say lightly, pissed at this weather pattern. WTH we thought indignantly! This is California. Isn’t there supposed to be sun here, like, 360 days of the year?
The rest of our 4 years in Santa Barbara proved that most East Coasters really don’t know what the weather is like in CA and they just assume that it’s warm and lovely all the time. But it’s a lie. A grand lie we’ve all been told from Hollywood. Jerks. After awhile, we stopped complaining and accepted our
sentence fate of weather.
One day, Mike mentions that he really missed the seasons. Seasons? I haven’t even thought about those. One thing I failed to mention above is that the weather generally stays in a 10 degree radius at all times and rarely gets colder or hotter than that. Most people love this about Santa Barbara. That’s why there are so many retirees there (thanks for driving up the property taxes guys). Mike did not love this about Santa Barbara. He missed his spring, summer, fall and winter. I always thought I could go without winter.
Fast forward to 4 months ago, living in Connecticut and experiencing our first winter. Most have assured us that CT experiences a “mild” New England winter. Whatever the hell that means. Given that last winter was so mild, many locals assumed this year would be too. But then we got a hurricane, and a Nor’easter and then another Nor’easter and then a freaking blizzard happened (and not just any blizzard, but the biggest blizzard since 1888. No biggie). And I can’t forget to mention the Alberta Clippers. An Alberta Clipper will take even the most winter and snow loving person and beat them into submission by hiding in their basement drinking crown and coke until the thaw happens. (Yes, a thaw. What the what?!).
I have to say, throughout the entire winter, I have been quite proud of myself. I forged on. Pretended I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Trudged through the snow to get firewood or to scoop up frozen dog poop or to dig up a buried tennis ball that one of the dogs had to have right that minute. I finally got tired and antsy of the weather in mid or late February. I was ready to run or walk the dogs outside without having to worry about slipping on hidden ice and breaking my leg. Sadly, this happens. In March, it slowly but surely started to warm up. I should have been happy about this, right? I mean, I was glad it was getting warmer but mostly I was so tired of seeing the dead maple trees and droopy pine trees and lack of flowers and bright, green grass (which, by the way, was hidden for almost 4 weeks from the blizzard. One day a patch of grass began to show in our backyard. Excitement ensued. And then it snowed 13 inches the next day).
Last week I went on a trip for 5 days…when Mike dropped me off at the airport it was a chilly 35 degrees and still, well, plain ugly outside. 5 days later, Mike picks me up at the airport and suddenly, the grass is brighter! Daffodil bulbs have bloomed! Maple leaves are budding! Birds are out chirping! The squirrels are leaving bread in my yard again! And I was happy.
All this to say, Mike and I laughed over the long wait but it was so worth it. This feeling of excitement about the seasons again. Who knew?! No longer is the smell of sweet firewood burning in chimneys in the air, but a fragrant, perfume-y smell. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s the most wonderful smell the wind brings in.
It’s almost kind of magical to see how fast everything has bloomed…a quick snap from my phone of one of our backyard Maple trees: