|More cute photos like these at www.mcclarrinonphotography.com/|
This is not true, of course, if you have never known anything but spring. If this is the case, you will define your seasons not by the new rustling of life around you or by dramatic changes in temperature or by pretty girls in short skirts, but rather by whether it’s generally rainy in the morning, or whether you wear long sleeves or short. It is a simpler life with a smaller wardrobe and no need to change your tires twice a year.
For those raised amidst the changing seasons, however, life becomes more complex and, until retirement, you find your body may even need the environmental cues provided by the seasons. Summer is a time of work and movement and production and expression; autumn of slowing, planning, preparing; winter of rest, contemplation, introspection; and spring of thawing, rebirth, revitalization. Of them all, I think the greatest contrast appears to us between winter and spring. And so it is that spring seems so much more warm and pleasant and rich than it really is. Who wouldn’t want to live forever in that rich and soul-stirring environment?
Well, after living with a bunch of kvetching retirees who had just that idea, we know exactly who wouldn’t. But we were only in Cuenca for just over a year, and we found that we wouldn’t want to either. What better concrete example of the necessity of balance, of yin/yang, of The Force than getting what you always thought you wanted, and nothing more? The beauty and wonder and awakening of spring is, for those of us raised with it, so remarkable and exhilarating precisely because it is so fleeting and in such contrast to the season it expels.
Spring is breaking out of the chrysalis of winter, shedding the skin of the past, beating off the dust of lethargy, breathing life back into the dull, brown, brittle, bits of our closeted winter souls. I had posited in an earlier post about some differences I saw in Ecuadorian culture being perhaps related to the lack of seasons. That was more related to the lack of need for planning and preparation in moving into the colder seasons. But I wonder also whether the relative calm and imperturbable demeanor of highland Ecuadorians is also related to having no environmental inspiration to stir, wake, stretch, explore…grow! We seasonal people, by contrast, are emotional, passionate…moody.
Despite our technological mastering of our environment, we humans remain deeply connected to the rhythms of life. In highland Ecuador, though, where spring is eternal, that rhythm is more a hum than a beat. This is no criticism; as I said before, for us it was a realization that, since we grew up along with four very sharply defined seasons, we don't just need those seasons to feel right about ourselves, we are in some senses defined by them. Our song, poetry, emotion, our subconscious rhythms—quite possibly even our DNA—are direct products of these seasonal patterns. And the same is true for highland Ecuadorians, but the rhythms are fundamentally different.
So as we before lamented missing one of the biggest ski seasons in Vail's history, while returning for one of the worst ever, we are reminded that a bad ski season generally means a freaking righteous, warm, beautiful, glorious spring. And so it is this year. And if you wondered just how moody and impetuous we can be, after a lamenting a nearly snowless March with temperatures in the 50s and 60s destroying our ski hills, we have the gall to bitch about an approaching snowstorm that threatens our budding tans.