Oh, how I love the seasons! There is definitely something magical as you begin to see Mother Nature bring her children to life. Perennials start to peek through the soil, naked trees fatten with buds of green, and gray skies succumb to billowy white clouds and sunshine. Even though autumn is my favorite season, awakening from a deep winter freeze is mentally and physically invigorating. Yet, these feelings were not always a priority.
In my late twenties, my employer offered me a transfer to central California. While I had traveled around the country with my family as a kid, Indiana had always been my home. Exciting could not even begin to describe my thoughts of living in The Golden State. I accepted the transfer without a second thought. The company found an apartment within close proximity of my new office and I settled in with ease. The cost of living was shockingly expensive but worth every penny!
During my first three years, I moved from the East Bay to the San Francisco neighborhood of Noe Valley. I absolutely loved the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city by the bay. San Francisco did, at least, offer warm sunny days but often cold blustery nights. Attending a 49ers game in Candlestick Park in September was quite the experience. If you closed your eyes there were many times you would think you were in Chicago’s Soldier Field in mid-December. The wind off of San Francisco Bay was bitter cold! The bay area offered the hint of seasons. Within three years, however, I decided to follow my significant other to Southern California. Ah, I could not wait. I loved the city, but I had heard that SoCal was the best of all worlds.
Now, let’s start with how many of you would absolutely love to live in blue skies and sunshine all year round. It is a dream, right? While there were a few rainy winter days, I was seldom challenged to need more than a sweatshirt any time of the year. With the help of sprinklers, my lawn was always thick and green. My hanging flower baskets and backyard pots looked like award-winning photographs in Home and Garden. I had never had such a green thumb! Absolutely gorgeous oleander or azaleas lined the freeway medians and were always in bloom. And the beaches were simply breathtaking. On clear days, the majestic snow-capped mountains would appear larger than life against the background of never-ending blue skies. But. There is always a ‘but,’ isn’t there?
By my sixth year, I found myself strangely bored with it all. Mother Nature’s color palette was exactly the same spring, summer, fall, and winter. The overcrowded population, impossible bumper-to-bumper daily commutes, wildfire scares, and of course the impending doom of “The Big One” (earthquakes) began to overpower all the advantages of seasonless weather. I felt like a Stepford Wife living on Fantasy Island. After a visit back home, it only took one flight into LAX through what seemed to be an impenetrable layer of brown stuff, a.k.a. God-awful smog, to realize that contrary to popular belief, this was not the greatest place on earth – maybe to vacation, but not to live.
And so, after 22 years, I finally abandoned the California dream. My story moved to New England and back to one of Mother Nature’s playgrounds. When asked why I would ever leave sunny Southern California, I always said I was tired of blue skies and smog-shine. Most responding glances indicated that I was most likely a weirdo with psychotic tendencies. While that might be partially true, it did not impact the fact that I have no wish to ever return.
Now back in my home state of Indiana, I anxiously await Mother Nature’s seasonal gifts. There is nothing sweeter than the aromatic scents of spring blossoms, a refreshing breath of clean air after a summer thunderstorm, and the intricacy of magnificent snowflakes glistening on a winter day. And for my favorite season, there is nothing that can match the beauty of autumn. Nature splashes fireworks of red, orange, and yellow as if to celebrate its last hurrah before graciously bowing as the curtain drops for a long winter’s rest.
I now ask all my devoted readers to bookmark this blog. When I start bellyaching later this year as I am shoveling that magnificently glimmering pain-in-the-patootie white stuff, remind me that I got tired of blue skies and smog-shine. In the meantime, smell every flower, gasp at the beauty of cloud castles in our skies, soak up every available ray of sunshine, and remember that from every ending comes a new beginning. Spring is the kick-in-the-pants we all need to jumpstart our attitudes into positive mode. And, as always, I definitely need a swift kick. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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