Seasons exist no matter where in the world you live. Some people, like those who live in South Florida, are usually only aware of a new season when their calendar tells them. Other people, like New Yorkers, are pretty aware of when the seasons change, whether we’re looking at our calendars or not. Our idea about seasons might not always line up with the calendar dates others rely on, but there’s something to be said about knowing from experience and knowing because learned about it at some point in your life.
I’ve always appreciated living in a place that lets me experience the changing of the seasons. I remember when I was younger, we had family friends who lived in Florida, and they had never seen snow or even felt cold weather before. I felt intrigued (how did they know when it was winter time?), confused (do they know what cold feels like at all?), jealous (how come they get to be warm and play outside all the time?), and excited (I’ve seen snow and you haven’t!) all at once.
I love (and can’t stand) each of the four seasons equally but for very different reasons. You can’t compare any of them to each other, they’re so different- it wouldn’t be fair. Sure, the Summer sounds like the most fun- warm weather, bright sun, and swimming at the beach…but I can’t stand the humidity, I hate sweating, and the air conditioning in my 26 year old Jeep isn’t always the most reliable.
A lot of people here will quickly tell you how much they can’t stand Winter- it gets dark too early, it can be bone-chillingly cold, and the snow- don’t even get them started on the snow. I love winter- it feels more peaceful to me than any other season and I love wearing boots! But I also have a wacky allergy- cold urticaria- it causes me to break out in hives when my skin gets too cold- it’s a bummer.
Fall and Spring are usually the least controversial. I happen to love Fall. Crisper and cooler air, boots, the colors of the leaves. The mornings start cold but by the afternoon, I feel kind of hot. I never know how to dress. And the leaves are pretty but they pile up and I don’t really know what to do with them.
People seem to love the Spring- after all it’s what rescues us from winter and all that snow. Our lives shift from seemingly neverending shades of gray back into vibrant colors, the air starts to turn warm again (although that’s relative because 55 degrees in September feels torturous, 55 degrees in March feels glorious), and of course, if Spring is here…then Summer is right around the corner. But all those colors coming back to our plants and trees, well, you know what that means…sneezing, coughing, watery eyes.
Those hypothetical people I mentioned earlier, the South Floridians who only “know” about seasons because of their calendars or because they learned in school? If you ever talk about the seasons with them, they’ll probably have very different thoughts and feelings than we do. It’s easy for us to know we’re “right” because we’re the ones who experience them, feel them, and live through them. People don’t know what they don’t know.
But what about us? Who’s right and who’s wrong when you’re talking with someone who has also experienced the seasons, who has also felt the changes in temperature, who has also lived through the changing of colors…but thinks and feels and perceives all of those things so differently from you?
I don’t think any one of us is wrong. I think we’re all equally right even if we never have the same thoughts or feelings about our experience. I think what’s most important to me is being open to the idea that different doesn’t mean wrong and a willingness to listen and understand all of the thoughts and feelings that have created the shape of someone else’s perspective to be so different from the shape of my own.