Have you noticed that whichever season we’re in, it’s not the one we want?
It’s July 4th, 2012 — Independence Day. Much of the US is experiencing record-breaking heat and drought in my part of the country makes it worse, so I guess it’s not too surprising that we complain. (We’re complainers, most of us. It’s what we do). Today, we look forward to backyard grilling, swimming pool antics, sparklers, family reunions, family vacations (I wonder how many US citizens celebrate the 4th by leaving the country???), and the heat, though it won’t stop us from gathering, will give us something to complain about. Especially irksome this year is the fireworks ban in place locally. Nothing says Independence Day like blowing things up. Reminiscence of war — the ‘rockets’ red glare’ and so on — in a brilliant display that makes us ‘oooh… and aaaaah’. America. Today, perhaps, we won’t complain too much. We’re celebrating. Tomorrow, though, when our Independence (there’s so much irony here I can barely stand to ignore it…) is once again a mundane thread in the ‘fabric of our lives,’ many of us will return to our longing for any season but the long hot days of Summer.
No easier evidence exists for this claim that the pins on Pinterest. Yes, I admit to a bit of a pinning addiction — feel free to judge if you must. The thing is, my time spent on the popular website apparently proves my point. Here it is, July 4, and I am finding all manner of pins with a decidedly Decemberish feel. Christmas! In JULY!!!! I always thought that the ‘Christmas in July’ thing was a sales pitch for furniture stores, but apparently the glories of summer — you know, watermelon, soft warm breezes, endless, velvety midnight skies — are being wholly ignored in favor of pine cone wreaths, mulled wine and adorable snowmen. Don’t misunderstand this. I am a huge Christmas fan — the Wintery splendor of snow and biting air and warm fires and … . And, Spring, with its hopeful renewal — all things green and full of promise and the days getting longer and… . And Autumn — the richness of harvest and colors that nearly burst the heart with the glory revealed in the ending of things. Each season of the year brings wonderment.
Why do we long for a season other than the one we’re in, then?
Each season of the year also brings a measure of discomfort, doesn’t it? Spring has its share of blustery wet days when the sun won’t shine. Autumn’s days grow short and the brilliant leaves fall into an inevitable heap of soggy refuse. Winter’s cold numbs not only our noses, but often our hearts. And Summer? Well, it’s hot. Dry. Dragging on interminably with not a rain cloud in sight.
We exult in each season’s glories, but eschew darker days, the scorching days, the dank and gloomy days. We want ‘Chamber of Commerce’ weather all day, every day. In every season. But have you noticed that it’s the scorching heat that makes us appreciate the biting chill of winter? And the biting chill of winter brings hopeful anticipation of blooming spring? And, …. well.
This July 4th promises to be another scorcher. Pushing 100 degrees and no rain in sight. Fireworks? Not tonight — they’ve been banned nearly everywhere. But there will be watermelon. And swimming pool antics. And a velvety midnight sky with a starry display no firework can ever match.
Summer. Winter. Spring. Autumn. Like clockwork, they come and go, don’t they? With the seasons come glories and the challenges, and when we get mired in difficulty, we wistfully wish the season away, longing for a better, more glorious time. Look forward, certainly — with hope. Look back occasionally — with thanksgiving. But, just today, embrace the season you’re in.