It’s the day after New Years. The tree and all the decorations have been returned to the garage. The Christmas music is over. The holiday baking, done. Today, it’s 27 degrees outside, with a predicted high of 33.
My friends in Florida still think I am nuts for leaving all that fun in the sun, trading in shorts and sandals weather for wooly mittens and a Goretex jacket.
First, let me say I am not a big fan, or even a minor fan, of biting cold winters and waist deep snow.
I talked to my daughter who lives in Michigan these days and they have 30″ of the white stuff and it’s below zero a lot. Now that’s batshit crazy! In Seattle, that would be national news.
I confess that I really missed this when I lived in Florida. Yes, it’s cute getting the puddle of water memes of the Florida Snowman from my friends. But something always seemed odd to me about the Christmas season in Florida, because, well, it wasn’t Christmasy.
Yes, there were all the trappings of Christmas present. In Key West, I remember in particular the snowglobe in someone’s front yard with fake snow blowing around inside as an inflated Santa waved to passersby. The candy canes were indeed hung along Duval with care, but it just never said that Santa would soon be there.
Now, I’m not dinging Florida. It was really wonderful in many ways during my eight years there (Remember, writer. I can make darned near anything sound legit).
But I always missed the seasons and have come to realize that yes, indeed, I am a Man for All Seasons.
No, I’m not crazy about harsh winter weather, but winters here are pretty darned mild compared to the rest of the country. It’s mostly 40 to 50 degrees around here from November to February, and when the weather does dip into the 20s or 30s for a week, like now, it’s something of an aberration. Winter weather tends to stay where it’s supposed to; in the mountains and in Eastern Washington.
But I digress. Back to winter. While it is winter now, it’s not my favorite season by any stretch. I go to work in the dark and I come home in the dark. We just passed the Solstice, so the days are already getting longer, but it will be another six months before it starts getting dark around 10:30, something we all live for here.
Given my lack of love for Florida’s weather, you can probably guess that summer isn’t really my favorite season either. Summer starts after the 4th of July here. No, I’m not joking. Then it lasts until about mid-September, something we call Indian Summer. The weather is still pretty mild; so much so that most homes don’t have air-conditioning.
When the sunny days do arrive, I can safely say that this is one of the most spectacular and beautiful places to live. It is heaven. That said, on a sunny day it is the most beautiful place in the world.
And, in a brilliant piece of engineering, locals are wired in reverse. In Florida, and I assume other sunny
In Florida, and I assume other sunny climes, when it rains, everyone’s plans are ruined because they expected another sunny day. Here, we expect cloudy and rainy days almost all the time, so when the sun does comes out, which is more often than I will admit to someone looking to move here, we all head out to go sailing, play on the beach, water ski, hike around our resident volcanoes and just generally enjoy life to the fullest.
I know people in summery locales can do this anytime they want, except the volcano part. But I found this to be somewhat boring. Because it was always an option, I never bothered. I lived a scant 500 feet from the empty beaches in Vero Beach and I can count on two hands the number of times I went out there on my own to enjoy the beach.
Why? Because it was always there. “Tomorrow” I would say. In the four years back in my homeland, I have been to the beach more times than I can count. That’s because it’s not always beach weather here, so I have to be mindful of those times when I can enjoy a sunny afternoon or evening beachside so I can enjoy it to its fullest.
The best times of the year for me here are spring and fall. Spring is always amazing, especially in my new yard, for everything comes to life and suddenly my yard is alive with flora and fauna, most of which I can’t even name. It’s an amazing transformation.
The same can be said for fall. This was my first fall here. The creek rages wildly on occasion as the autumn rains arrive and the leaves begin to fall. The leaves are certainly not something I love about fall. I’ve never had to rake leaves before and I already know that I will never like it.
But I do love the fact that the hot summer days of Indian Summer (mid September) start to give way to the crisp chill of fall. The air turns a bit nippy and you get to pull out your fall clothes instead of just wearing your summer clothes again, over and over and over… Plus, you get to buy barbecues and patio furniture for pennies on the dollar since everything in the stores is seasonal so there are corresponding season-ending sales you won’t find in the land of endless sunshine.
And then Halloween arrives. The leaves are falling now, it’s just a bit colder and darker out; it seems as if the Headless Horseman is going to make a turn in the Park n’ Ride lot at any moment and head right for you. It’s another change of a season, another year passing, another chance to look forward to the coming of a new year, a new season of renewal and growth, and eventually summer days and long summer nights.
Yes, I am a Man for Four Seasons and proud to say so. I am lucky enough to live in a world where I don’t have to own a snow shovel, let alone a snow blower. I can look out at the wintery weather without cursing it, and I can welcome a warm summer day without feeling like I’m in a twisted version of the movie Groundhog Day, waking up to the same day over and over again, not knowing how to move on with the seasons I so love.
In the Emerald City, appreciating the arrival of boot and mitten season,