We are privileged to live in a place where we get to experience the four seasons. There is something comfortable about dividing up the year into somewhat equal periods of time, each season giving something the previous season failed to provide.
Spring must be my favorite because it represents a renewal of the earth. The flowers of spring are more beautiful than any others, maybe because they create such a stark change from the emptiness of the winter season. Each day as we return home from work my wife comments on our neighbor’s beautiful spring flowers. “Flowers make me happy,” she says. I fully agree.
The interesting thing about planting flowers in your yard is that it is a gift you can enjoy that isn’t diminished when others are able to gaze upon them as they casually pass your yard. I suppose that having a well-manicured lawn is similar in that everybody passing by shares in its presentation and beauty. If that is true, then the opposite will also be true – an unkempt yard with dandelions and untidy grass reflect poorly on you as well as those around you.
I recall a summer at my family home in Logan, Utah, when my father took it upon himself to see to it that the grass in our yard got a good dose of nutrients, spreading cow manure around liberally. I think he saw what manure did for his garden and he wanted the same benefit for our yard. Our mother was not pleased nor were our neighbors because this was fresh manure, bringing with it all the stink and disgust if left the dairy with.
I should point out that my father was busy providing for his large family and never did yardwork. That was left up to me and my five brothers. It only took a few days for the manure to burn our lawn such that it took the entire summer to recover. It was the one and only time our dad had anything to do with our yard.
Summer is the necessary season that bridges spring and fall. It’s not that I don’t love the summer – I would simply rather have the 60’s and 70’s of spring and fall all summer long. For a few years in the late 1980’s we lived in Phoenix, Arizona, where spring is one week long followed by eight months of summer. Fall takes up another week or so and then there is a three-and a-half-month winter, which I should say was just fine by me. An Arizona winter is like spring in Idaho but summer in Arizona is purgatory. A person goes from an air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned mall and the pattern is repeated every day. Every step on the pavement burns your feet.
My brother, Alan, who lives in the Arizona desert, often works in his garage, building cabinets year-round. It is normal for him to spend eight or ten hours in 110-degree temperatures. How he survives this is beyond me. He says it is something you just get used to, but I think he is mad.
I can recall a stretch of weeks when living in Arizona when the temperatures didn’t drop below 80 degrees even in the middle of the night. When it is so hot overnight that the pavement doesn’t have a chance to cool off you know it’s miserable. Even a hot summer day in Idaho will give way to cool and breezy summer evenings, and I can live with that.
One bonus of summer is the occasional thunderstorm that rolls through the valley. The building thunderheads create a spectacle of beauty, so long as they don’t start the forest ablaze. Summer clouds paint a beautiful contrast to the deep blue summer sky.
Fall is fantastic in so many ways. The harvest stirs up a smell so unique and different. Leaves turning on the trees create their own canvas and once they hit the ground and get rained on they create a fragrance that is unique and beautiful. I do love the mountains and the fall temperature drop always paints the maples, birch and quaking aspen so many shades of green to yellow, or green to orange. The change in the high country is always an early warning that change in the valley is next.
I am at peace with winter because none of the other seasons are possible without it. The fact that I don’t have to work out in the elements gives me the advantage so many don’t get to have. My three brothers-in-law are dairymen and when we are home in Cache Valley, I get a tiny taste of what they have to go through to put food on the table and propane in the furnace. Around 4 a.m. I hear the tractor fire in the yard as my wife’s brothers start their chores. It makes my warm bed in the guest bedroom even cozier.
Whatever your favorite season, enjoy it to the max. This takes on even more meaning for me as I get one year older, wondering how many tulip blossoms I’ll get to enjoy or colorful fall colors are left in this soul of mine. Live for the day, I guess, I just hope it’s a nice one.