Personal Seasons

White tulips losing their leaves.

The words pounding at me should be released through private journaling, so I will just plug in a few photos from yesterday. Chicago jumped 40 degrees in a blink and I am definitely not complaining, even if some of the tulips are keeling over. The unrelenting chill likely kept them going longer than usual anyway.

Seasons are measured in multiple ways. Astronomical, anchored to the sun. Meteorological, to months. There are benefits to widely used measures of time (see railroads) but I wonder if any places on earth have seasons that fall neatly into quarters.

Er, OK. I should stop right here because I know that the whole concept of a season is location and context specific. Those near the equator have a different dance with the sun than those closer to the pole. Industries have a range of rhythms. We have school years and fiscal years. The baseball season spans ten months, from pitchers and catchers reporting in February to the World Serious in November (too late IMO but no one is asking me).

I have eleven seasons of varying length. The spring bulbs carry me through the two worst ones, between mid-February and mid-May.

  • July 4-Labor Day: Summer, ie don’t need a jacket outside but do need a sweater for inside b/c so many people are inexplicably uncomfortable when it’s above 80 degrees, ie the most glorious time of the year.
  • September: Golden melancholy. Back to school. Still warm but days are shrinking.
  • October: Halloween displays and frantic gardening
Halloween spirits hanging from a fence in front of a building's garden,
October-December: all about the decorations.
  • November 1-Thanksgiving: Ugh now I have to put away the Halloween crap, is it too late for bulbs, where are my gloves, who’s hosting Thanksgiving, is it too early to start putting up lights . . .
  • Thanksgiving to Solstice: All about lights and feasts
  • Solstice to Dec 31: Family, gifts, reflection, belt loosening
  • Jan 1-MLK Day: Yay for Scrabble, fake fire place, cuddly dog and snow

Winter is awesome . . . for a little while. Photos (and shoveling) by Michael Burton

  • Late January to mid/late Feb: I should really take down the Christmas tree but I just want to cry under the covers.
  • Mid/late Feb-March 21: Oh! The first green shoots and snow drops! Now I have a reason to unglue myself from the radiator. In 2020, I spied one Jan 31. This year was the latest–March 6th.
  • Vernal equinox to Mother’s Day: Self aware, hackneyed grousing about Chicago’s pitiful excuse for spring tempered by daily garden pictures.
  • Mother’s Day to July 4th: Spring. Risk of frost is very low. Nights are still sometimes chilly (below 70) but days are long. We made it!

Wait a sec I did not mean to write all this. I was going to rage into my journal but I am glad I noodled with this instead. Nothing earthshattering here (and there are already plenty of memes about this topic) but distracting and relaxing at least.

Once the petals fall and the tree canopy above fills out, the parkway won’t be much to look but. . . it will be summer! Thank you snow drops, crocuses, lilies, daffodils, fritillaria, and tulips for bringing the cheer these last few months.

2 thoughts on “Personal Seasons

  1. I love the idea of playing around with one’s personal seasons. It’s getting me thinking about the seasons I have in my own life……

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