Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midwesterly Weather

Before I get started on work today, I wanted to do a quick post. Well, I hope it's quick. My sister, Julie, has been posting a lot about the glorious, heavenly, year-round weather in Texas, and it got me thinking about Midwest weather and what I think about it.

Let me just begin by saying that I completely loathe the month of February. It always seems to be the longest month of the whole year (and this particular year, it seems as though it's the longest month of my life), and yes. I am aware that it is, indeed, the shortest month of all twelve. Thank God it's the shortest. If it were any longer than its 28 or sometimes 29 days, I seriously think there'd be more suicides. I'm just sayin'.

My reasons for hating February start back in elementary school days. February always seemed like the middle of a long stretch at school where there were absolutely no days off. The last time there would be a break would be, like, Presidents' Day (which I don't think we actually got off ever), and that would just be one day. In February, I remember pining for that later week in March where we'd get a whole week off (and the last time I'd have had at least a week off of school would've been for Christmas and New Year's). So, I think this is how I started disliking February.

Now, my disdain for February comes from a multitude of reasons. It's always cold in February. It's always snowing in February, and it's been doing these things for a long time. (This year, it's been longer than usual since we started having serious cold and snow in, like, October—which doesn't happen all that often.) Work gets really busy for both Willis and me in February (usually). There are two major events that I typically am heavily involved with that happen, and it wipes me out. Plus, the aura with the people we work with gets a little "stretched" around this time since it's such a stressful time for everyone. We're always so relieved when these events are over.

February always seems so dark, too (even though the days are actually getting longer the whole time). That doesn't really help matters much. There are also the random days (and February always has these) that tease me heavily with thoughts of Spring. There's always a day or two in February that hits at least 40 degrees during the day (we had a day or two awhile back that was 60 degrees that nearly knocked down the few feet of snow that had been sitting on the ground since late October). Even though my sister, Julie, would say that 40 degrees is still "freezing," I have to say that those are the days that my heart leaps, my blood starts moving again, and I think, "Oh, man! Spring is going to be here soon!"

Then, February goes and drops down into the 20s for days again after that. So, my hope gets crushed for awhile.

Now that I've helped my sister's case (that Texas is, like, "the Shire") quite a bit, I'll go on to say that even though February is the bain of my existence, I wouldn't want to live anywhere that's balmy all year round. I have a multitude of reasons for this as well.

Firstly, the change in the seasons keeps life fresh. If I hate the weather, all I've got to do is stick it out a little longer, and I'll get something different. As I get older, the more I absolutely love the Fall (and maybe it's because it's prettier up here than I remember it being in Wolcott—I'm sure school factored into my disdain for Fall in my younger years as well). We have a lot of maples in this town, and they turn all sorts of amazing, warm colors. One Sunday morning, I remember our pastor at church saying something like, "There is no reason for the colors of the trees to be so beautiful other than the fact that God loves us."

I got to thinking about that statement because I always thought that the colors changing was quite scientific. However, once I gazed upon the Fall trees here in La Porte during a proper Autumn (our first Autumn here got cold too fast and killed all the leaves before they could change properly—our neighbor, Frank, actually apologized to us for the lack of the pretty trees that year), I knew that what the pastor was saying was right. The leaves don't have to be that beautiful, but they just are. They could be scaled back quite a bit in their color, and they would serve the same purpose. The process would always be the same—just not as beautiful and radiant.

Spring is still my favorite season of all. I think this is because even if I enjoy winter cold and snow just a little (and I do a little—I even enjoy how quiet the winter is around here), I get tired of it after awhile. When that first, sweet smell of spring hits my nose sometime in late February or early March (this year, I'm still waiting for that smell), I am in love with the Spring season all over again. I can't wait to see the little crocuses and tulips popping up through the gross, dead, slimy earth. By this time, the birds are chirping more. Soon, you start to see people coming out of the woodwork, animals, and life in general. It's always such a neat thing to witness. I'm looking so forward to chatting it up with my neighbors again and seeing them working in their yards, having family over, having fun, etc. Spring is the time that I remember that I'm not alone over here, and it's such a wonderful, welcomed reminder every year.

Winter serves its purpose. It kills the bugs. It reboots the system. It gives us a "break" from the fast-paced life that happens when the weather is always lovely. I like that break every year (and we really do go into a bit of a "hibernation" at our house—and we love it), but when the break is over, I am always ready for it to be over.

I like Summer, too, of course and for the obvious reasons. I just hope the mosquitoes aren't as bad this year as they were last year. That's my only complaint. Thank God for bug spray. Also, we've got plans to get some strategically placed citronella plants this year if it's anything like it was last year.

Willis always says, "The older I get, the more I love the transition of the seasons. I love the transitions more than I love the actual seasons. Is that weird?"

At first, I told him, "Yeah. That's a little weird."

But, I'm starting to really understand what he means. Each time the seasons change around here, it's a miracle. It's wild to think that we have such a wide range of temperatures and precipitation every year. It's amazing if you really sit and think about it.

Mind you, I love to take a trip and visit a warm climate during a February now and then (just for a break from that long Winter break), but give me my changing seasons (especially those beautiful Fall trees). Give me my wide array of wardrobe choices (I look better in winter clothes right now, anyway). Give me my Winter foods (chili, stews, soups, etc.) and Summer foods (grilling, grilling, and more grilling) that I only eat during those seasons. I wouldn't live anywhere else. Not for an extended period of time, anyway.

And, Julie, I think you'll find that you can have your "Shire" anywhere you set up camp. You just have to look for the quiet miracles in it. (By the way, "the Shire" is a total Lord of the Rings reference. I know you probably didn't know that. Maybe Dave can elaborate on that for you so you can see the awesome humor in it—especially since I often refer to Willis and myself as Hobbits.)

Oh, and I wrote a book. I really need to get to work now. Catch you kids, later.

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