Sunday, June 21, 2015

Missing the Seasons

I  grew up in Northwestern Minnesota. After leaving the state, I've discovered that Minnesota is known for three things for people who have never been there: 1) Lakes, 2) Mosquitos, and 3) Frozen lakes/Subzero temperatures (and maybe a fourth: the accent). These are fairly accurate and numbers 2 and 3 are reasons I don't really miss living there.

But Minnesota has something else, something I do miss! Seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter -- distinct weather changes that usually come at predictable times of the year. Summer was my favorite. I loved the sunshine and warmth. Growing up, it seemed like people could go on little mini-vacations every weekend -- tubing down the river, visiting someone's lake home, Flea Markets, camping, fishing, etc. There were plenty of things to do in the summer -- all of them wonderful . . . except mowing the lawn.

Summer 2013: Grilling on the back patio with the family

Fall was also a favorite. I love sweater weather . . . but not double-sweater weather. I loved the crisp air and the changing leaves. I love fall foods too -- pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, soups, etc.

Winter was hard. It is very beautiful -- trees blanketed with snow and icicles shimmering like crystals -- but it is so cold. And it's cold for a long time. As kids, we had a ton of fun outside. We made forts/tunnels through the snow drifts, giant snowmen, and had plenty of snowball fights; I loved ice skating too. I have memories of my dad coming in from doing chores outside and his beard would be covered in icicles and his glasses would fog up once he hit the warm air inside the house. I have no idea how many layers of clothes he wore everyday, but it was a lot.

Spring was often wet from all of the melting snow. There were floods somewhere every year. But the excitement of winter being over -- or almost over -- was enough to bring everyone's spirits up again!

I bring this up today because of some photos I saw online. My sisters were at a baseball game, the sun was shining, their sleeves were rolled up and they looked warm. And I remembered: It's summer there.

It isn't summer here. If I go to a baseball game, its cold. I would be wearing a sweater, a jacket and maybe a scarf. San Francisco has had the warmest fall and spring I remember in my five years here. It has often felt like Summer this year . . . until June. Now it's cool, not really cold. But I find myself putting on a sweater and wanting a hot chocolate.

Its weird and a little disorienting.  It feels like fall to me, but all of my social media friends remind me its summer . . . and I miss it. San Francisco doesn't get too hot or too cold -- it stays at fairly comfortable temperature year round.  We have a dry season and a rainy season (and lately the rainy season looked a lot like the dry season). I miss the changing seasons and the signals of time passing.

For Minnesotans, the weather changes and new seasons meant we change our wardrobe, our sport, and our hobby. Baseball gloves and balls come out in the spring and summer. Father's day is a great day for playing catch. But you put those things away when winter comes. We skate, ski and go sledding when the snow starts to fall. I miss the cues in California for when it's baseball season or hockey season . . . and forget that swimming lessons can be taken all year long! My wardrobe stays the same year round, layers being an important component to any outfit.

I am looking forward to spending a week in Minnesota next month! The very middle of summer promises to be warm and probably buggy. But we'll have a blast anyway -- we'll swim, bike, and grill out. And after one week, I'll probably be ready for our San Francisco fog again!

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