Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Season In the sun...

Yeah, I know the song, and I used to listen to it over and over on my dad's old turntable, I nearly wore out that old 45. Who remembers 45 rpm Records? show of hands! If you know what they are, then a 33 is easy to remember, but who really remembers the 78's? I loved the 78 setting to play the 45's because then they sounded like squirrels on meth!

But I digress, and since this is MY blog, I am allowed to digress, so there! THPPPP!!

My goal today was to wax philosophical about the seasons, I may even get poetic, but be sure it will have no rhyme scheme! Today was what is often referred to as a perfect Indian Summer day, the mercury climbed well up into the 70's which in western NY in November is unusual. Our normal temps at this time of year are usually in the 50's during the day, and at or below freezing at night. To have a day for t-shirt and shorts this time of year makes me wonder just what effect global warming is really going to have on our climate. Many of the experts claim that the northern hemisphere will slip into a new ice age when the great ocean currents stagnate, and until the oceans salinity returns to the correct levels and begin the convection again, we will remain an ice-locked area. Do you know what the great convection is? Look it up! it's the interconnected worldwide ocean current that moves the dense cold water from the poles down into the equatorial waters, and then the warm equatorial waters into the poles to cool. This current regulates the temperatures of the oceans and the atmosphere as well. With the melting of the Arctic, and Antarctic icecaps this current is slowing down and is truly in danger of completely stopping. When it does, the real climate change will begin. The northern hemisphere holds the bulk of the landmass of the planet. If you don't believe me look at a globe, and see how much land is north of the equator. Now see how much is below. I was right, huh? See, I payed attention in school. Well actually to the History and Science Channels! But anyways, what this means is that the heavy cold air from the north will not have a jet stream in the upper atmosphere to drag it around the planet and warm it up, nope, it will just settle and push itself south across the land and in the darkness of winter the snows will fall, and as the snow falls it will pile up. Without the jet stream to bring in the warm air from the southern latitudes the sun will not be able to warm the land and the snow just won't melt away. This is how an ice age starts. Each season the snow gets deeper until it forms a glacier, and on a continental scale it will once again resurface the planet. Those of us alive now will never live to see the glaciers, but there is a possibility that the youngest of us will see the everlasting winters. I feel sorry for them, because they will miss the real pleasure of the changing seasons.

We all have our favorite seasons, and some people search for the endless summer, or the endless winter. I have lived where there is no snow, and I didn't care for it. I have visited where there is no rain for long stretches of time, and I truly miss the occasional rainy day. A rainy season just isn't the same as a beautiful summer rain. I was born in the winter, and when I was a kid I knew that my birthday was getting close when I saw snow on the ground. With this in mind I actually remember a time when I would wake up every morning and look out the window to see if it had snowed! So what if I started after the 4th of July! I was 4 and had no grasp of a calendar yet. lol So in that respect I missied out on some interesting things while I was so caught up in waiting for winter. Now It's not so much of a problem.

Ever notice that the older you get the faster time seems to go by? It is truly a perception, because when you are five years old an year is 1/5 of your life, and month is 1/60. When you are 2o years old a year is now 1/20 of you life and a month is 1/24o. So carrying the ratios out, when you are 60, a year is like a month when you were 5!! Yikes!! and we wonder where the memory goes! it's not the memory that goes, but the perception of time that screws it all up

When your a kid you look forward to summer, when school was out and you had all day to do whatever you wanted, or at least all day after your chores were done. I loved to be out in the fields and the forests. I would climb trees and boulders, and explore the creeks and ponds around my home. Tracking deer in the woods, and picking wild blackberries and currants, and strawberries. Finding apple trees where there used to be farm houses, and getting a stomach ache from eating green apples and pears. I explored the hedge rows and hollows of every field within 5 miles of my house and I knew every fox and woodchuck burrow around. I knew where the deer went to drink, and I knew where the best place was to catch a fish, or a snapping turtle. SO much has changed since then that I would barely know where to start these days. But I still appreciate the summer, only now it is for a different reason. Now it is for the fresh vegetables from the farm stands, and the girls in their skimpy clothes. I appreciate the summer for the hours spent riding my motorcycle through the hills and valleys of my home state. I appreciate it for the long days when I can get out of work and still have hours of light left to go swimming or to putter around in my garden. The lazy Saturday afternoons, when the yard work is done and I get to sprawl out in my hammock under a shady tree and swing in the cool breeze. The Satruday afternoon parties when friends gather together with cold beer and loads of food cooked over the open fire, and eaten with gusto. The warm evenings with fireflies swarming in the trees, and the stars winking into view overhead. Watching the big fat full moon rise over the eastern horizon. knowing the familiar whine of mosquitos busily buzzing your ears while you are trying to cook a hot dog on a stick over the campfire. Sleeping in a tent listening to nature rustle in the leaves outside. hearing the giggles of the children playing jokes on their friends and parents. The smell of the air before a thunderstorm. The smell of the air after a thunderstorm. The smell of a dewy summer morning, and watching the sunrise, bright and clear, into that perfect cerulian, summer sky. These are the things that mean summer to me, and the things that make it special each and every time.

As summer slowly unwinds into autumn there are new sensations and memories to be made. The return of the great yellow monsters to the traffic patterns, school buses to slow down everyone and make you cautious again. The days are getting shorter, but the grass is still growing, so you have to work harder on the weekends because the grass still needs to be cut, and the garden needs tending and the harvest is really ramping up. The fields are slowly emptying of fresh produce. Gone are the fresh cucumbers and squash, and the pumpkins are showing their great orange tummys to the world. The hills are alive with color as the maples and beeches and oaks lose their summer green and show the flaming colors hidden underneath, like naughty girls flasing Victoria's Secret to the world! The smells of the occasional fire in the fireplace to chase the chill off in the morning. The smells of the autumn. The fresh and crisp mornings when you walk outside and see frost in the grass. Saturday night parties when you build the big bonfire to have a little warmth even though you are wearing a sweater or even a jacket. Watching the great harvesters bobbing and weaving along the byways and back roads going from field to field. Haversters running into the night seeing the lights moving through the fields like so many UFO's eating the corn and soybeans. The trucks loaded with corn groaning down the roads headed to the markets or the farms. Orchards with row after row of apple trees, their branches heavy and bent low with big juicy apples. Driving by the vineyards of wine country and smelling the grapes, the air so thick with the smell that you can almost taste the fruit. Leaves falling from the trees and making multi-colored drifts in yards and fields. Squirrels scampering around gathering nuts as quickly as they can, and hording them away in places where they hope to be able to find them in the dead of winter. The hedge rows turning crimson with the end of the sumac season. Seeing the geese in the air their great flying V's crossing the skys headed south for the winter. Honking noisily to announce to everyone their presence. Little twittering groups of other northern birds filling the trees for a day or two as they follow the geese, and the sun. Hunters and posted signs. Camo and blaze orange. Idiots with guns and bows out in the fields, too close to my home. Slowly the world goes from the bright vibrant colors of summer to the monochromatic hues of fall and winter.

Soon the days are too short, and the nights too long, and they are filled with wind and cold. But the house is cozy and the oven is pumping out hunger inducing smells, fresh bread, and cookies, stews and casseroles. The stovetop steaming with fresh soup and sauce. The windows fogged up from all the cooking. Too much temptation, no way to avoid eating all the tasty treats going into the holiday season. Still autumn right into December, by now there is regularly snow on the ground, and when you walk outside your shoes squishing in the snow and your breath is always a little cloud when you breath out. Thanksgiving is past and Christmas and New Years quickly approach, shopping for just the right gifts for everyone on the list. Wrapping presents and stashing them away where you hope they won't be discovered. The holidays themselves, each one full of traditions and family and friends. Christmas with the family, the gifts, and the laughter and the tears. The meal and the gathering and the noisy fun. The smells of the dinner cooking in the kitchen, the cookies and candies on the tables. New Years Eve gathers friends together, and the countdown to the New Year. Cheering and kissing and hugging, and congratulating, welcoming the beginning of another year with a champaign toast. The Rose Parade! The holidays are over and now it is the long slow climb out of winter. Plowing and shoveling snow until the January thaw. Brown slush filling parking lots and streets, then freezing again making it all rough like a furrowed field. The icy blast of February tempered by Valentines day, and the thoughts of love. The beginning of NASCAR season sitting in the living room while the winter rattles the windows, the TV filled with the warm Daytona sun, and the cars and teams filled with promise, gathered to start the season. Running out of space to push the snow . March and the hints of spring, in like a lion and out like a lamb. The growing daffodills and crocuses. Tulips poking out of the ground showing the world that they are awake and looking for the sun. Winter trying it's best to hold on, blowing it's icy breath across the land reminding us that it isn't gone yet. Snow on the Daffodils. April, the warming ground slowly giving life back to the grasses and the bulbs hidden beneath. The apricots and apple trees loaded with blossoms filling the air with their perfumes, along with the peaches pears and cherries. May and the fields are turned with the promise of the new season, The lilacs showing once again their fleeting beauty, filling the air with their sweet scent. June as the crops begin to poke eagerly from the ground, corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and everything else.The colors returning to the trees and the blossoms. The first cutting of hay piling up in the barns, and the promise of another summer filled with new promise and memories.

So to say that I feel sorry for those who don't experience the seasons is an understatement, but for many of them they are like the blind who have never seen. They have not a concept of what they are missing. Maybe someday they may give it a try.

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