Fall means that I won’t likely be watering the lawn anymore for the rest of the season and that mowing will occur much less often. So you think that I would look forward to fall because it means a lot less yard work. While this is true, there is one thing that I dislike about fall—the knowledge that winter will soon follow it.
Spring is my favorite season. To me, spring means new life, fresh beginnings, and personal rejuvenation. Summer is a close second, with the warm days and a break from the normal schedule. Then comes fall, which weather-wise is an okay time of the year. But winter is a time that I view as something to endure. I know, I need to develop a more positive attitude about the season of cold and snow, but it’s hard for me to do—and seemingly gets harder every year.
I used to think that my dislike for the winter months centered around the lesser number of daylight hours, but it turns out that is more of an incidental issue, with the cold temps and blowing snow as the central cause of my angst. By working at home, I can largely avoid those twin threats, but by mid-winter, I start to get cabin fever, which is about as bad.
But right now, I need to not dwell on it—and enjoy fall while it lasts.
Years ago, on a Saturday, my lawn was again in need of liquid sustenance and I was in watering mode, repositioning sprinklers in half-hour increments. During one mid-morning trek, there were two birds on my deck railing. I walked by them slowly, wondering how close I could get before they flew off in fear. They never did, even though I passed within a couple of feet. I’m not sure if they are immature, sickly, or both.
This continued for several hours, even when I made no attempt to slow my approach or quiet my steps. Desiring to snap a photo, I retrieved my camera. As I was setting it for an outdoor shot, I heard a loud thud. Looking up, only one bird remained on the rail, with the other staggering in an apparent daze on the deck next to the window. Soon his friend fluttered down to join him.
I thought I missed my shot, but 30 minutes later they were again on the railing, where they stayed a few more hours.
The next day, as I rounded the corner of my house, one of them was sitting in the grass and I almost ran into him. He studied me carefully before casually flying to a nearby tree.
Sadly, the following Monday, there was a suspicious pile of feathers in about that same place. Today, the apparent survivor was alone, randomly walking on my driveway, as though not knowing what to do. Nature, for all its awesome beauty, can be painfully sad.
“Sunny” and “cloudy” I comprehend, but “partly sunny,” “mostly sunny,” “partly cloudy,” and “mostly cloudy” leave me a bit unsure.
My hope was to clarify this, but the only conclusion I can reach is “No one knows for sure.”
The Reader’s Digest said “partly sunny” is the same as “mostly cloudy,” while “mostly sunny” equates to “partly cloudy,” as in:
sunny (or clear)
mostly sunny or partly cloudy
partly sunny or mostly cloudy
But I couldn’t corroborate this. Another source says the middle ground is shared by “partly sunny,” which is the same as “partly cloudy,” with “mostly cloudy” residing on one side and “mostly sunny” on the other side. This results in:
Summer is officially over (for those north of the equator), lasting from June 21 to September 22 this year. For me, summer effectively covers a slightly different span, starting on Memorial Day and ending on Labor Day, regardless, we must move from summer to fall.
Each summer, I have a mental list of things that I want to accomplish, some fun, some relating to home improvement, and some regarding work. Each year, summer ends before the list is completed. Even so, this year I did better than most—regardless of when I mark the end of the season. So long summer. Hello fall. Click To Tweet
The weather, of course, is another transition that occurs on the migration from summer to fall. We usually start fall with highs in the seventies and lows in the fifties, even forties. (Of course, we end fall with snow and below-freezing temperatures.)
So with summer over, I need to review my to-do list. Some items will be moved to my non-summer list, while others will be put on hold until next year, and the remaining items will be discarded on the junk heap of good ideas and mercifully forgotten.
Spring is my favorite season. Yes, summer is grand and fall is enjoyable (while I view winter as something to be survived). However, spring is the most splendid time of the year. Springtime is when the cold dreariness of the winter fades, the dirty snow melts, and plants that were seemingly dead push forth green and are revived. Spring is an almost spiritual time for me, signaling reinvigorated life and a fresh start, a new birth of sorts.
Already I am starting to see which plants have survived the harshness of the winter months: the tulips and daffodils are just poking through. Soon the grass will green and with it a slew of yard work will follow. But that’s okay, because it’s spring and I want to get outside and do something other than shiver.
With temperatures in the unseasonably low seventies, it seems like an opportune time to talk about global warming, which frankly, I don’t buy. I know, it’s not PC (politically correct) to assert that global warming is a scam, but I dare to. Some people who have carefully studied the facts have concluded that global warming is not the threat that others, such as Al Gore, claim it to be, however, am not one of those people. Instead, I base my assessment on two simple anecdotal conclusions:Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. Click To Tweet
1) When I was in elementary school, the big threat was the “coming ice age.” It was predicted that Michigan, were I live, would be covered with several hundred feet of frozen snow and ice as the glaciers pushed south. They warned that we would need to take action to avoid freezing to death. Now forty years later, that is a ludicrous alarm.
Yet seemingly it was the same logic of analyzing temperature fluctuations that projected an ice age then as is pointing to global warming now. I don’t think a forthcoming ice age is any more realistic than the ocean rising 100 feet and obliterating landmasses.
2) The scientific community relies on grant money—especially so when their research has no foreseeable economic upside. The people who receive the most grant attention are those who study alarming things (such as the effects of global warming) and not so much those whose work won’t be newsworthy (such as cooling the warming hype ). Given the competition for grants, the more dire warnings will tend to be awarded more money. It’s basic human nature at work. And for all those who think scientists are purely logical and their work is strictly scientific, remember that they are just people trying to earn a living like that rest of us.
Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. But catastrophe is not around the corner. It wasn’t 40 years ago and its not now.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it—at least until I’m covered with water—or ice.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night.
Technically summer doesn’t start for another month (June 21). Summer then lasts for three months (until September 21). Though the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox formally mark the beginning and ending of the summer season, the weather and our response to it shows we don’t care too much about the official dates.
Yesterday was the first day of spring—and the temperature hit a record-breaking 86 F. The average high for this time of year is 48. That’s an astounding in 38-degree difference. And today, the high temps pushed 90.
Interestingly, the average high temperature for us in three months, the first day of summer, is only 84 degrees. That implies that our seasonal temperatures are about three months ahead of schedule.
Now if this difference continues and the high for the first day of summer is also 38 degrees above the average, that would put it at a sweltering 122 degrees. While I don’t think that will actually happen, I do suspect we are in for a hot summer this year.
Technically, the first day of spring will not be for a couple more weeks (this year on March 20—unless you live south of the Equator, then you have a much longer wait).
However, the seasons seldom line up with the calendar.
For me, the best sign of spring is when I see a robin for the first time. That happened today.
Another typical sign of spring’s arrival is bulbs whose new growth begins to emerge from the ground. Unfortunately, for me, that indicator is flawed this year, as my tulips got confused with a warm fall and actually began showing their greenery last October.
Bravely these early arrivals, with their one-inch stalks, stood guard all winter long, despite repeatedly being covered with snow. Though they are no longer a vibrant green, they did nonetheless maintain their general color all winter long.
And now, with warmer temps, they seem to be growing again. It will be interesting to see if they have enough energy left to produce flowers later on, but nevertheless, they do assure me that spring is on its way.
Summer is road construction season in Michigan. Locally, we have been enduring a construction project relating to our bridge over the nearby Interstate highway. Actually, it is not the bridge that is being worked on, but instead each end of it.
For years drivers have complained about the difficulty of exiting the highway at our small town and traffic tie-ups over the bridge as vehicles wait to make left-hand turns to get on the highway.
Requests for a four lane bridge was rejected, while a scaled down plea for a bridge with a center turning lane was also dismissed. The eventual offer was to install a roundabout (a traffic circle) on each end of the bridge. At a cost of 2.8 million, the design will theoretically increase the flow of traffic and decrease accidents. While few were happy with this as a solution, the response from the powers that be was to take it or leave it.
The project began in earnest when the school year ended and was promised to be completed before school resumed in the fall. But the project was behind schedule almost from the start and despite repeated assurances to the contrary, it was not completed by the time the kiddies returned to school. At present we have one and a half turning circles completed and three of four highway ramps working. The new completion date is late September — contingent on weather and other delays.
So, we will need to endure delays and detours a bit longer. At least the students now have an excuse for being late to school.