The four seasons

The 4 seasonsThe weather is glorious at the moment. The sun is shining, the air is crisp, and the leaves — all decked out in their autumn finery — are nothing short of spectacular. Walking down the street, breathing in the bracing fall air and listening to the satisfying crunch of fallen leaves underfoot, I feel a sense of poignancy for this, Nature’s last hurrah before the winter arrives.

I wrote those words two weeks ago — the only snippet I managed to complete of a post that’s been knocking around in my brain for several weeks. I was planning to segue from that paragraph into my ambivalence toward living in a climate that cycles through all four seasons. But you know how it is — life got in the way, and I never got beyond that grudging sense of appreciation for the gorgeous display of colours that greeted me as I walked out of my house every day.

Still, that was then, this is now. A lot can happen in 14 days. The temperature plummeted 10 degrees, for instance, flirting with the digits on the wrong end of the thermometer. Daylight Savings Time ended, plunging my world into darkness before I’ve even finished making dinner. The trees, so awe-inspiring a scant couple of weeks ago, look gaunt and stark now that they’ve dropped most of their leaves.

While the calendar is under the impression that winter doesn’t start for a full month yet, the frost on my car this morning thumbs its icy nose at such conventional thinking.

Part of the allure of moving to Singapore was the chance to escape the cold. The intense heat and humidity was a shock to the system at first, but once I’d adjusted to living in a sauna, I was thrilled by the tropical weather. I assumed Chef Boyardee felt the same, so I was gobsmacked when he dropped his bombshell.

We were relaxing by the pool, shaded from the blazing sun by a canopy and watching the children splashing about like happy little fish. The temperature was between 28 and 30 degrees, just as it had been every day since we’d arrived almost a year before. A bead of sweat was lazily making its way down my back.

“It’s fall now,” Chef Boyardee said.

“Mmmm.” I was in a heat-induced stupor and didn’t have the energy to even pretend I was paying attention.

“It’s fall,” he repeated. “But you can’t tell one season from the next here. I miss that.”

I stared at him blankly. “Huh?”

“It gets kind of boring after a while, don’t you think?” he said. “There’s no variation in the weather — it’s always the same. There’s no need for hot chocolate, or cool leather jackets, or cosy nights by the fire.”

“No need for snow shovels, or long underwear, or flu shots,” I countered, shaking my head and thinking (not for the first time) that I’d married a man who was clearly insane.

“I miss the change of seasons,” he said, and turned his attention back to the sunscreen he was applying to his chest.

For the record, there are two seasons in Singapore: hot and wet, and hotter and dry. But even though I felt not the slightest trace of nostalgia for the four I’d left behind, I’ve since come to understand what Chef Boyardee meant. I love the summer and loathe the winter, but I’d forgotten the charms of the seasons in between.

I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to see the crocuses poke their heads out of the snow as winter turns to spring, and to breathe the fresh, earthy scent that heralds the season of rebirth. To see the trees budding and hear the geese brashly announcing their return from their winter down south. To finally stow coats, scarves, and mittens at the back of the closet and expose our pasty skin to the sun’s rays once again.

Fall, as I mentioned several hundred words ago, has a beauty and dignity all its own. The days may get shorter and the air may get chillier, but hey — this weather is perfect for wearing the fab-u-lous boots I got last weekend. I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes with these beauties in Singapore.

So I’m on board with three out of the four seasons. How do you feel about the seasons where you live?

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About Maria

I'm a Canadian repatriate, former expat spouse, mother to two TCKs (and one yellow Lab), mentor to new immigrants, writer, reader, world traveller (grounded for now). I write about expat/repat issues and am still trying to figure out my place in the world.
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11 Responses to The four seasons

  1. Russell says:

    Lovely post, Maria. The seasons are a sore point with me. Much like Singapore, we don’t get a clear definition of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in Oz. The lines are blurred and summer stretches for 6 months or more. Spring is a fortnight’s rise in temperature and the leaves start to fall from the trees in my garden in early summer. It really is topsy turvy here and I often look forward to the arrival of winter and a slight change in the environment. Someone once told me that winter in Australia is simply summer with the heat turned down 5 degrees. That’s not a far-off description. I remember the Canadian seasons, which are outstanding. I don’t think there are many other countries in the world where the seasons are so clearly defined and quite so colourful. Enjoy!

    • Maria says:

      I liked living in Australia, too — for many reasons, including the mild winters.But yes, I’ll continue to enjoy the seasons here. 75% of them, anyway 🙂

  2. I totally miss seasons! Okay, let’s me honest, Houston isn’t exactly great for seasons either, but Dubai makes it look pretty good. Christmas decorations are out and I’m still wearing sundresses. ho hum. At this point, I miss weather changes of any sort. A cloud every now and then would be nice. Thunderstorms? I REALLY miss thunderstorms! Even my 3 year old son occasionally laments that he misses the rain.

    • Maria says:

      Your 3-year-old is one smart cookie! I’m sure I’d miss thunderstorms in Dubai too. I quite like a good storm (provided I’m inside, of course.)

  3. Judy says:

    The guy with the most boring job in the world must be a meteorologist in Dubai. Day in, day out of “hot and sunny” during the winter and “hot, humid and sunny” in the summer.

    Even though I’m not a fan of Canadian winters, I don’t think you can truly enjoy summer unless you have winter to contrast it with. It’s the whole yin and yang thing; there has to be both balance and constant change.

    Or maybe I’m still too British and just obsessed with weather generally … 😉

  4. Oh man … I am seriously missing seasons!! We moved from a distinct four season climate (Nebraska/Ohio) and now in Delhi where there ARE four seasons (Hot and Dry Furnace, Monsoon, Winter Smog Can’t Breath and Hot and Humid Sop) but not the four seasons that I miss so dearly!

    Winter is the ONE season that I agree with you (re: Judy’s comment) … a bit less would make my heart sing!

  5. Enjoyed this post Maria, lovely. Growing up in upstate New York just a couple hours from the Canadian border, our seasons were much like yours now. We were on the edges of the snowbelt which meant ‘a lot’ of snow (as opposed to ‘a whole lot’ and ‘a whole lot more’ and the ultimate ‘too freaking much’ snow). Autumn is my favorite season, and reading your post about the gaunt trees I deeply missed the quiet, raw beauty of looking skyward, watching a weak sunset through those leafless limbs. I learned as a child to love winter because we were outside playing: build snowmen and snowforts, snowball fights, almost daily skating and hockey on the neighborhood pond, going tobaggoning and sledding, learning to ski. I try to get outside as much as possible in winter wherever I am, even if I’m not doing those activities. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so embrace winter!

  6. hehehe I’m the opposite. My heart longs for winter and snow (although experienced snow only once) and I loathe hot summers. I feel like I have been missing out my whole life with no seasons. And I much prefer the nature found in temperate countries…trees etc than tropical trees and plants.

  7. Lorraine Bourgeois says:

    I have lived 4 years in New Caledonia south pacific island and I was back last year in Montreal. While I was living there I was missing so much fall colors that I would fly a few hours to New Zealand in Queenstown just to see maple and fir trees and mountain landscapes …it reminded me of Canada . Felt so good !

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