Seasons

seasons

Congratulations, folks! We’ve made it through the summer, and it’s autumn again.  Where does the time go?  Over the years, I’ve given summer a pretty bad rap, and even though it clearly deserved it, I should apologize.  Sorry, summer — you hot, sweaty mess!  Actually, I shouldn’t be so hard on summer.  It’s just one of the seasons and, as they say, “To every season/there is a reason.”  Vivaldi knew this and wrote some cool music to demonstrate it.  So, even though I’m no Vivaldi, here’s my take on the four seasons.

Winter is for the mind.

Winter is thick books and old libraries; dusty, hard-to-find bookstores cluttered with forgotten, twice-told stories.  It’s big socks, ankle-bunched and comfortable.  It’s long, dark hours and hot tea, quilted with spice.  It’s pages of adventure that sip like cups of soup, hand-warm and held close to your face.  It’s cozy against the lonely cold scratching at the windows and crowded with imagination.

Spring is for the spirit.

Spring is splashy rain and wide, warm mornings; flocks of shepherdless clouds, grazing the sky.  It’s busy-bird busy, darting on the breeze, beaks full of new-nest enthusiasm.  It’s turned dirt, moist with tender green promises … that there will be flowers.  It’s trees awake with tiny, inexperienced fingers, first fluttered in the singing afternoon.  It’s bare arms and short skirts and sly, secret smiles that catch your eye like jewelry.

Summer is for the body.

Summer is painted bright toenails and young girls, lithe as deer, dancing in the sand.  It’s sun-hot games, smooth with muscles.  It’s music, laugh -loud and twisting.  It’s fresh-cut grass and scented gardens and spray cool water.  It’s tickle and giggle and chasing with excitement.  It’s coloured drinks that drip, and honey-coated skies and jokes and teases and everyone talking at once.

Autumn is for the soul.

Autumn is scarves and gloves and hair, finger-combed and tangled.  It’s crisp crumbled leaves cremated on the wind and scattered.  It’s walking in the low, grey afternoon, coat buttoned and no place to go.  It’s a park bench, forgotten in the bony trees that whisper the words of a poem you can’t quite remember.  It’s a love song that no longer makes you cry.  It’s old friends and long ago’s and all the things we forfeit to time.  It’s a pause at the window while the world walks by.

It’s Spring — 2019

spring

Thank God it’s spring!  And this isn’t just another date on the calendar; this is the real meal deal.  Mother Nature is changing her clothes, and Father Time is watching.  We mere mortals are only a small part of what they both have in mind, but, like every year since this planet was a baby, it’s going to be spectacular.   As of today, the birds and the bees are back, and they’re feeling frisky.

Unfortunately, the spring solstice doesn’t carry the kind of punch it used to.  These days, it’s mostly living on its rep.  We all know it’s spring, but in a world of central heating, air conditioning, mega-malls and concrete canyon streets, how many of us really care?  In the 21st century, we generally ignore the world around us until Mother Nature gets pissed off and starts slapping the crap out of everything in her path – then we pay attention.  Primitive humans weren’t this arrogant; that’s why they treated the spring solstice with some respect.

Back in the day, winter in the northern hemisphere was nothing to be trifled with.  Our species never physically adapted to the cold the way some of the other animals on this planet did.  However, despite our natural tendency to freeze to death, we insisted on living in climates that were inhospitable for four (or more) months of the year.  The only recourse for this stupidity was to outsmart Mother Nature, using the tools at hand – fire and the skins of more practical animals.  Plus, our instincts told us to hide in caves when a hostile world starting howling for our bones.  This strategy worked and we survived long enough to understand that — even though Mother Nature spent a good amount of time trying to kill us — eventually she would relent and treat us like her special children again.  And this was cause for celebration.

As we evolved beyond beetle-brow tough to early-human clever, we must have realized that these constantly changing seasons were not random.  They had a pattern.  When winter was over, the leaves came out.  From there, only a Neanderthal wouldn’t put two and two together and realize, once the leaves started to fall, winter was coming back.  (That’s why there are no more Neanderthals, BTW.  Just sayin’.)  With that in mind, it wasn’t a Cro-Magnon leap of intelligence to figure out that, with a little planning, we could gather food and firewood during the good weather, store them away, and a smart cave family could sit out the winter in relative comfort.  Thus, instead of hanging out in the cave, shivering and getting skinny all winter, we had some leisure time to put that big brain or ours to work.  We watched the sun, we watched the moon, we noticed when the ice started to melt, when the birds came back and when the bear two caves over woke up grumpy, hungry and looking for a fight.  This was all important stuff, because the more we knew about the seasons, the more likely it was that we’d be around to see a few of them.

 

Unfortunately, climatology hadn’t been invented yet, and so humans simply filed all these various discoveries under “Mother Nature: Whims and Idiosyncrasies.”  But Mother Nature was real.  She made the flowers bloom, the warm breezes blow, and warmed up the sun.  So, when winter was over, it made sense for primitive humans to take a minute, be polite and say thanks.

These days, we don’t much care for Mother Nature.  After all, for the last two hundred years or so, we’ve been fighting with her for supremacy on this planet.  There are some who say we’re winning and some who say we’ve already lost.  Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t seem to give a damn, either way.  Our egos are so secure we no longer thank her — or anybody else — for our existence.  However, on a morning like this one, in the first sunlight of what’s going to be a perfectly gorgeous day, I tend to get a little caveman-humble.  I hear the birds putting on the brag, see an ambitious green sprig forcing its way through the sidewalk and maybe — just maybe — sniff a sweet change in the air.   And it all tells me something special is happening again this year — and it’s going to fantastic.

 

Thanks, Mother Nature!

Hell-o Spring

Spring
View of my street

Okay, Spring! Winter and I have been living together for months now; don’t think you can come along and just break us up.  I’ll always love Winter: we’re cuddling and cozy, and she’s my soulmate.  You think you’re something special, but you’re still only the third best season.  You might be better than Summer, but that ain’t sayin’ much.

It’s common knowledge that, ever since our Cro-Magnon ancestors decided to take up home decorating in the south of France, Spring has been working overtime to convince us that she is the best season on the calendar.  Crap!  I like Spring as well as the next guy, but here are a couple of little items that prove she’s wrong.

First of all, Spring is sneaky.  She tempts us with sunshine and warm weather, saying things like, “Come out and play!” and “You don’t need a jacket.”  Then, the minute we get 10 metres out the door, she hits us with rain, wind, hail — that’s big enough to hurt — and that frozen sleety stuff that can actually tear your clothes.  How many times have you gone to work on a gorgeous spring morning and come home that night, soaked through to your underwear with your shoes full of mud?  In my country, I’ve seen beautiful April days turn into debilitating snowstorms in less than hour and more than a few crops of innocent little vegetables murdered overnight by a killer frost in May.  Spring is the original Femme Fatale.

Second, Spring means work.  Yeah!  Yeah!  Yeah!  Spring’s always talking about what a wonderful time she has with love and sex and “The Birds And The Bees.”  But good luck with that.  Once things start blooming, the only al fresco activity anybody with a back garden ever gets is “Work Your Ass Off!”  And we better do it, too, or Spring will turn our homes into overgrown holiday camps for badgers, wolves and crack addicts.  So, we plant, we water, we weed, we water some more — oh, yeah, and cut the grass.  Then there’s more weeding.  Cut the grass, again.  And WTF, it’s time to repaint the fence or rebuild the garden wall.  By the time there is a moonlight evening worth sitting under, most of us are too exhausted to do anything but snore.  Spring could give lessons to Lady Macbeth.

And finally …. Wait a minute!  What’s that smell?  OMG, that’s incredible!  I didn’t know air could smell that good.  And listen to the birds!  It’s like a symphony.  And there’s daffodils!  Crocuses!  I don’t even know what those pretty little pink things are.  Fantastic!  Feel that sun!  My God, it’s great to be alive!

“Well, hi there Spring.  How ya doin?  No, Winter and I’ve decided to give each other some space.  Uh — ya think maybe you and I could hang out for a while….?”