Sunday, August 28, 2016

Changing Seasons

One of the things we were told when we moved here (2 years ago!) was that we would experience "proper" seasons.  And it's true - the changing seasons are much more apparent than in the UK, which seems consistently grey and damp in comparison (with an occasional day of sunshine to break the monotony).

Here, the seasons move along as you're brought up to expect, in a slightly more extreme version than we're used to in the UK.  It's always nice to be able to get out and enjoy the changing scenery.

We're currently drawing to the end of the summer, which in some ways is a bit of relief.  Early summers are lovely - not so hot that you can't get out and make the most of the day, and still warm enough to sit out on an evening and watch the fireflies dance into the dusk.

But by late summer, it can get oppressively hot and muggy - it's like stepping into an oven when you head outside, and it really makes you appreciate air-conditioning (even if it means you have to wear a hoody in the office)!  Even sitting outside in the heat isn't fun, with mosquitoes and other bitey insects causing a nuisance, and the racket of cicadas in the trees (they really are loud).  On the plus side, this is the time of year when fresh corn is harvested, and there's nothing nicer than the sweetest corn on the cob, freshly picked that morning and picked up for pennies from a road-side farmers stall.

Autumn is the relief - it's still relatively warm - meaning you can go back to sitting outside on an evening, with firepits, s'mores and star gazing to look forward to.  It's less damp and cold, more fresh air and rosy glow.  The downside is the huuuuuuuuge amounts of leaves that fall from the trees and have to be raked up.  Pumpkins and "fall decor" appear everywhere and in everything.  Porches are decorated, and there's a kind of gradual build-up to Halloween and then onto the "holidays" (aka Christmas).

Winter is generally bitterly cold (although Christmas day last year was a very unseasonable 75 degrees).  By January, snow falls frequently, but the world doesn't grind to a halt - the roads are usually cleared quickly and without fuss, and everyone gets on with their life.  School days may be delayed by a couple of hours, but it's rare that they close completely.  Having to clear the driveway before you go anywhere becomes a bit of a drag.  The cold can be biting, so gloves, hats, layers and big boots are a must.  Trees are bare, grass is brown (under the snow).  Weirdly, there isn't much frost (the air becomes incredibly dry), so you don't have to scrape your car windscreen very often.

The snow can last into March and even beyond in some years (it can feel like a loooong winter), but Spring eventually comes around.  Warmer weather, greener grass, more farming activity in the fields, fresh air, and the promise of evenings outdoors again, fire pits and barbecues...

In some ways, the changing seasons can make the year seem to pass more quickly, but looking back on some of these photographs, we can appreciate all that we've seen and done in that time.

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