You may have noticed that I changed my blog background recently. Earth Day is cool and everything, but I needed a change-so fall it is! I've been thinking a lot about seasons lately--not the "seasons of life" or "seasons of change" or whatever, but the actual seasons of the year. Summer. Fall. Winter. Spring. Being from Kentucky I'm used to four very distinct seasons. New England has them as well, but they're definitely different. So I thought I would write about how they're different TO ME (please don't start responding saying I'm totally wrong about seasons here, it's just my take!), mostly because when these Yankees hear I'm from the South they automatically say "Oh well you must not know what winter's like!" Yeah right. Read on for my response...
We'll start with Summer. First I should define what I mean by summer, and I'm sure this completely changes how I decide when summer begins and ends. Summer is, for me, a time of heat, thunderstorms, lightening bugs, gardening, reading, swimming, camping, and generally doing outdoor things. And mosquitoes. Summer in Massachusetts (and mind you, I've only been up here for two summers so I'm still learning on this one) is a rather short affair. It actually starts in earnest around the actual start of summer (June 20-21st-ish) but ends around Labor Day weekend. Yes, it is still warm after labor day, but the nights are getting cooler and there's a very very slim chance that I would even consider going swimming outdoors. And I feel like I can't wear white shoes, which is weird because I never had this hang up back home. Strange. Sometimes summer comes even later--I wasn't in Mass for summer this year, but from what I heard from R it was pretty cold into the beginning of July. Cold and rainy. And I should point out that Massachusetts doesn't have much in the way of thunderstorms (my roomates from MA my first year in Boston had no idea what to do during a tornado and didn't believe me about the sky turning green). In Kentucky, summer starts in mid-May (sometimes earlier) and goes until early October (sometimes later). There's not really an "Indian Summer" (I don't know the politically correct name for it so I apologize to those who might be offended) in MA that I've noticed, but there is at home. Just because the leaves are changing doesn't mean it's sweatshirt weather.
Fall, for which New England is famous, is longer here than in Kentucky. For example, it's already gotten down into the 30s at night. Oh yeah and my definition--fall is a time of colder nights and warm-er days, with temperature highs ranging from the 40s-60s. Leaves are changing, geese are flying...and college football is being played. Woohoo! This is pretty standard in Massachusetts, I've found, but fall starts earlier than the actual autumnal equinox and ends in November, be it early or mid or late. In Kentucky it tends to be about the same length, but starts and ends later (October-sometime from late Nov. to early Dec.).
Winter. That time of year when it's always dark and it's under 40 degrees day and night. OK listen here Yankees-you don't have to corner market on winter. Seriously. I keep trying to explain to people that we HAVE winter in the upper South. We don't get tons of snow as consistently as New England does, but yes it snows and yes it gets cold. Just ask anyone in Louisville about the ice storm last year. Or the January of 1994 and they'll explain to you about winter. In fact, I'd venture to say that the midwest can trump New England's winters anytime. It's so friggin' cold out there. The main difference between winter in MA and winter in KY? Length. I swear the winter up here goes from December (or November) to March and it's awful. While I still act like I'm 10 when it snows (because it wasn't common enough back home for me to get used to it) I quickly tire of it when I am helping R shovel day after day, or when I'm worried about R because he fell on the ice or is shoveling more with a bad back. Boo hiss.
Spring. Spring is hard to grasp, I think. Temps are back in the 50s and 60s, but there are the inevitable cold snaps. Spring in KY would, I'd say, start in early March and go to mid-May. There will still be snow once and a while on Derby day, but for the most part things are getting green. Spring in New England is even harder to get a handle on. I met some folks I went to high school with the other day in Cambridge, and we all agreed March is the hardest month for a Kentuckian in Massachusetts. For us, March is when things green up-everything takes on that greenish-yellow haze, thanks to the pollen. And through your tear-filled eyes you could see the daffodils starting to say hello. March in Kentucky has such wonderful green potential. March in Mass? No dice. Everything is still brown. It's still cold. And it's probably still snowing. I have a really tough time in March, tougher than at any other season change. The winter's worn me down and my clock has already switched to spring. But it's still brown and dead-looking. Granted, this does make April that much nicer and provides a very Easter-y feeling to the appearance of all things green, but that doesn't make up for the March doldrums. Say what you want about February, but March is worse.
So there you go. In case you hadn't figured it out, I'm a complete nerd about the weather. When we were little, my sister would watch Dirty Dancing, my brother would watch the Wizard of Oz, and I would watch the Weather Channel.
And for those of you who were interested, my favorite season is summer.
Oh and I also like to keep track of the seasons with the beer selection...