Friday, March 16, 2012

Living life by the seasons


The infinite jokes about living in Northeast Ohio involve the same things:  sports teams (or lack there of) and the weather.  “Don’t like the weather around here?  Wait an hour, it will change” is more than just a silly joke, and anyone who lives here can attest to it by admitting that he or she has literally used the heat and the air conditioning in the very same day.
But griping about the weather never does us any good, and instead we try our hardest to convince ourselves that we love the seasons.  “Oh, I could never live in Florida,” we tell people.  “I need the change of season or else I’d go crazy.”
But is it true?  Do we really need the change of season?
Scientifically, yes.  This year’s mild winter is wreaking havoc on our natural world.  According to a news article by Discovery, our current warm winter is going to cause us a doozy of a flea, tick, and mosquito season.  And beyond that, bears are waking up from their winter slumbers earlier than usual, and may wander a little farther in search of food that should be there according to the temperature, but isn’t quite ripe for the picking yet.
Socially we need it, too.  There are way too many of us out here who were gifted fantastic sleds for the holidays or bought our kids new snow boots for the season, only to see them stacked in the garage, perfectly dry and clean.  Not even a trace of the telltale mud that comes along with our Ohio snows caked into the laces or clogging up the handles of the sleds.  
Emotionally, though, we Ohioans will take as much sunshine as we can get.  Data from the NOAA say that on average we get about 200 cloudy days and 100 partly cloudy days each year.  (Do the math—that’s only about 65 days of sun, a disgusting 17.8%.) And while I can’t prove that cloudy days make me grumpy, I know my world is a much happier place when the sun is shining and the bright blue sky lights up everyone’s grinning faces.  Sunshine makes you smile, don’t it?
But if there’s anything we know, griping about the weather won’t get us very far.  So what’s left to convince ourselves to find the joy in every season, whether it be winter, not-quite-winter, morning-winter, or evening-spring.  I’m not naïve enough to think I could tell you to find peace and serenity in scraping the ice off of your car or love the humidity of a summer day while weeding your flowerbeds.  But I can give you a few tips to get through these transitional days between spring and winter and whatever other season it happens to be at any given time of day.  Next time you find yourself with the late winter blues, peek out your window and let these five things brighten your day.
  1. 1. Gray skies and leafless trees make a great backdrop for spotting last year’s bird nests or early birds starting to rebuild for the season.
  2. 2. Even the saddest, muddiest, brown/gray flowerbeds are brightened by the tiniest of bulbs poking through.
  3. 3. Puddles bring out the kid in all of us, except when we’re wearing white (which we aren’t supposed to do until Memorial Day, right?)
  4. 4. Mud isn’t all that muddy when it’s frozen.
  5. 5. Chilly days have the ability to warm your heart as long as you’re inside, sipping tea and looking out the window.  You can snuggle in and look out at the constantly changing weather, wonder what the forecast for tomorrow will bring, and enjoy what we have while we have it.
No matter what it is.

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