Appreciate our four seasons
A while back, one of my father’s friends, John Boone, told me that his grown children had decided to come back to Canada from Los Angeles. When I asked him why his answer struck a chord with me. He said it was “the absence of seasons”. They couldn’t stand the hot sunny weather all the time.
Living as I do where “winter” means “snow and cold”, I truly appreciate the uniqueness of each of our seasons. Around this time of year (March), I have to admit that living in Arizona or Florida or somewhere warm starts to sound pretty good. But then I remember how hot summers are in those areas and air conditioning is pretty essential and I don’t think I could do it.
Christmas is the time of year when I really enjoy living in a northern climate. When I see movies with people celebrating Christmas in hot climates, I find it depressing. Christmas is all about snow and cold, sitting by the fire and skating on the pond. This is how I was raised and I don’t think I could ever walk away from it.
Gardening is another thing. Even though I love gardening, I don’t think I would like to do it all year round. In the fall, I’m really sick of gardening. In fact, every fall I say, “That’s it, next summer I’ll put most of the garden in clover and grow two tomato plants, that’s it!” In January the seed catalogs start to arrive, in February I start craving the color “green”, and in March, as it starts to heat up and the sun is getting stronger, I can’t wait to go back. in the garden. Last fall I was ready to give up gardening and now in mid March we have decided to open a vegetable stall in Tamworth on Saturdays to sell our produce, and I just can’t wait to get out in floor.
It was a little depressing the other day because even though we had hot sunny days and the snow was melting it snowed again. It was wet snow and it didn’t last long, but it’s definitely not time for gardening yet.
I really feel part of nature living in the woods like we do. Going out on hot spring days, I just can’t wait to get into the growing season. I have accumulated energy that I started to store last fall, and which has slept through the winter. This is what I love about winter and wood burning because it has kept me busy burning calories and not getting too fat and lazy. But once I can work the land again, the days start to get really long and I’ll sleep even better by falling into my exhausted bed every night.
Surrounded by forests, ponds and lakes as we are, we have the reality of dealing with mosquitoes and black flies during part of our growing season, but I have a great bug hat that I wear if they are really bad and I learned to avoid the worst times of the day. It just makes August and September more enjoyable because it means gardening without the bugs.
By the time we harvest the potatoes and fill the root cellar, I’m exhausted from gardening and can’t wait to fall. The smell of a wood stove when you first lit it, that feeling of going back to school, even when you are not. And then later in the fall, as the days get shorter, you’ve got the Solstice vacation to look forward to.
I guess humans have just incorporated the seasons into their DNA, but I like having four distinct and very different seasons.
I think the best ‘season’ story I had was when we had just bought this place and I spent 6 months installing a phone with a solar panel and communication gear so we could have one. point-to-point telephone system. I had come alone for a weekend and took the truck to Napanee to rent a generator. I wanted to learn how to use a generator to recharge our batteries when we didn’t have enough sun. I left in freezing rain. The road was really, really icy, but I wanted to move the family here and I had to figure out this whole generator thing.
Coming back on our route it was even worse as he’s always the last to be sanded or salted and I don’t think he received either of those treatments that night. Our road has many spots with ponds on both sides of the road and I was driving my first Ford Ranger which was rear wheel drive and hadn’t learned to put weight in the back. So I slid and slipped on the way back, and had to take my hands off the wheel when I finally got there. I had to change into dry clothes as I was wearing about 8 diapers, assuming I would be walking through the maelstrom.
I started a fire, tried to run the generator, and panicked for hours with the ice and the isolation.
Around 8 p.m. there were lights in the aisle. My neighbor Ken Gorter had just come home from work. He was responsible for the upkeep of Millhaven Maximum Security Penitentiary. Ken parked near the house and I went out to greet him. Ken carefully walked home in his patent leather “shoes” and wore a light leather jacket over his light, buttoned dress shirt. You know – the kind of clothes that best suit the weather in June or September.
As he walked towards the house, he observed, “At least there are no black flies!
I have to say it was one of the most beautiful lines I have ever heard. Sometimes city dwellers need an attitude adjustment when we move to the countryside. Ken is not afraid of anything, and driving on an icy road with ponds on both sides of the road is for him like a walk to the end of the driveway for some commuters.
In the spring I look forward to the absence of insects, in the summer I look forward to the absence of brutal heat, in the fall I look forward to free time for the celebration of the solstice, and in winter, I can’t wait to come back to the garden. I don’t think I could live with an absence of seasons.
Photos by Cam and Michelle Mather.
Originally published: 03/24/2011 9:06:19 AM