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Sunday, August 20, 2017

How Nature Always Gives Me Something To Look Forward To

Having just been on our summer vacation, it got me thinking a lot about why I love living in a four season climate. Every summer, as much as I don't want it to end because it seems so fleeting once August hits, I always welcome the transition into fall. I love summer and everything that goes with it, but I don't think I could happily live in an all season warm weather climate, as appealing as it can sometimes sound (especially at the end of March). And I don't really have a good answer as to why, except to say, I love experiencing the good and bad with every changing season. 

Because I look forward to at least one aspect of each season, it's even hard for me to rank my favorite. Well ... kind of. I love fall. If I had to pick a favorite season, fall would probably be it. Although, summer is a very close second. If I didn't have to constantly smear sunscreen all over every inch of exposed skin in the summer, it would probably be tied with fall for first place.

So, if I love summer so much, almost as much as the autumn season, why do I love living in the Northeast where winters can be brutal and spring seems to take forever to come? Because those seasons make me appreciate and savor every second of beautiful weather we have. 

That's also not to say I don't actually enjoy winter. I do, actually, and I've touched on it here and there in past posts. I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but always welcome its end because the world seems quiet and still, and I feel like I can hear myself think. The trees are bare and still, lacking leaves to sway with the wind, and everything is just peaceful. I love to stay inside, build fires, watch movies, cuddle with throw blankets, layer up in my favorite comfy sweatshirts and eat pasta and drink pinot noir. Winters are just made for stuff like that - both Josh and I relish in those cold winter nights while we watch our favorite Hitchcock movies and know this is our time to recharge. I even love talking walks in the snow and smelling the cold air. Watching a snowfall is mesmerizing and you wonder how nature can be so beautiful sometimes. There's so much to be said for the winter season and I love how it allows me to slow down, listen to my own thoughts and just ... hibernate. Yes, I'm definitely a hibernator and look forward to it every year. The winter demands it of me, like it knows it's exactly what I need.

A snowfall on our tree farm this past winter. I mean, how is this not amazing?

It gets harder and harder as winter goes on, though, and usually by mid-March, I'm over it and I'm ready to go outside with lighter layers and feel the world come back to life.

Spring is always so amazing, and I think many people love it for the same reasons. Everything comes back to life. Plants start to pop up from the ground, and the landscape goes from gray to green. You can start to hear woodland creatures move around a bit more, and the birds start to sing a little more loudly. You can feel your own body start to come back to life after a season of hibernation, and it feels good to get back in touch with the outdoors.

And then there's summer. I love everything about it (except the aforementioned sunscreen). I love how the world is alive. Everyone is outdoors, relishing in the sunlight and the longer days and running around with watermelon dripping down their arms. We're cutting our grass, and we all love it when we do this because we can smell it from a mile away, and the gentle hum of a working lawn mower in the distance is somehow comforting. We have picnics with pasta and potato salad (because what's the point of a picnic without these?). Our noses and shoulders are pink from the sun. We're all branded with farmer's tans or swimsuit lines, the logos of summer, and we almost wear them proudly because we know that soon the longer days will fade as quickly as these new lines on our skin. We're making late night car rides to the local ice cream shack for cones and sundaes. We find our hands full of paper plates of fried seafood or hot dogs and hamburgers (or, at our house, veggie burgers). The warm air feels so good against our skin after having it covered for so many months, and we feel completely in touch with the world. We spend so much time outside because we know summer doesn't last long, and it's the perfect excuse to just enjoy it.

Toward the end of Summer, once Labor Day has come and gone, I love Indian Summers (if we're lucky to have them). Having a warm September allows me to savor every last second of the season, while still starting to slow down a bit and gear up for a beautiful autumn. We grill corn, now in season, and start to drink hard ciders and fall-infused beers, watching the days get shorter, but the warmth of sun still hitting our skin.

Then autumn comes. I love that you never really know when it will arrive, but randomly on one evening, your bedroom windows will be open because it's cool enough to not have the air conditioning on, and you're just a bit too cold, and have to reach for extra blankets. And you know it's here.

Our first fall season in our house. I came down our stairs to this window on our landing
 and seeing this made me the happiest person on earth that day.

Betty's first fall season in our house.
You step outside in the morning and the air is crisp and you have to throw on an extra layer. The world starts to slow down a bit because we're all preparing for the colder months ahead, but we're still able to enjoy the perfectly chilled, sunlit days we have. We collect apples and pumpkins and the smells of the season remind us of our childhood memories. Kids start to plan their Halloween costumes, and get mad when they have to put their jackets on over their costumes, while adults gets excited for an excuse to eat fun-sized candy bars and make caramel apples. We bake apple crisps and heartier meals inside after being outdoors all day playing in the leaves. And we venture to our favorite apple stand to buy the always-coveted apple cider donuts. Everything is perfect.

Then the holidays are here. And even though your summer tan line is pretty much gone, the world is alive with a different kind of excitement, and we try to balance commercialism with being present in the moment, and appreciation for everything we have. We help the less fortunate while trying to find the perfect gift for our family members. We decorate the tree with ornaments that remind us of a lifetimes of memories. We bake Christmas cookies to bring to the office or to your neighbor, or just to eat on the couch while watching our favorite Christmas movie that we've seen hundreds of times. There are parties and too many calories consumed, and we don't even care because all the food is so good, and we only have it this one time of the year. There's Christmas Eve, where all the anticipation of the season builds, and then Christmas morning, where the world seems peaceful, even if only for a short moment. We see family we haven't seen in a while. We laugh, share stories, get annoyed by Uncle so-and-so who's testing everyone's last nerve but we love him anyway and wouldn't have the day any other way. You go to bed kind of tired from being social, but feeling so lucky you have all these people in your life regardless. And if we're that lucky, we get a snowfall on Christmas, and the world seems magical, even if for just a short moment.

And then it starts all over again, and I love it as much as I did the year before. If not more.

I can't imagine my life without this continuous cycle that's predictable, but also keeps me on my toes, and reminds me there's always - always - something to look forward to.

6 comments:

  1. I've been out of town so I am just reading your last posts. I agree about the seasons. But for us in the South it is kind of the opposite. We are ready for the heat and humidity to leave so fall and winter are a break for us. But come spring, we are ready for the warm days again.

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  2. "We're all branded with farmer's tans or swimsuit lines, the logos of summer" made this Jersey girl smile:) I also love being able to enjoy all four seasons and having something to look forward to with each one. I always dislike the end of summer even though the fall is my favorite time of year...must be the little kid in me! Great post!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for reading :)

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  3. This was such a sweet tribute to read about the seasons. You help me appreciate the winter a little bit more. It has been a struggle for me since living in Vermont after being born& raised my whole life in Florida. I think once we find a home with some nice property and neighbors I will look forward to it a bit more! I just wish I didn't have to drive to work after blizzards lol

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    1. It must be so tough having grown up in Florida! When we lived in Chicago, I hated winter. I actually suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder pretty badly. It was gray and dark all the time, and bitter cold, with not a lot of snow. I started to love winter once we moved back to NY. I also started a new rule for myself where if I feel my safety is threatened, I don't drive in the snow. Once I made that a rule for myself, I was able to really get the most of out winter. Now after a blizzard, I just relax. I know not everyone has that flexibility with work, but part of it is just making it a priority :)

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