One thing I loved about my recent time in the US and Canada was the weather. Yeah I know, any Americans or Canadians reading this right now may well be looking out their windows at piles of snow and snickering to themselves and saying “Ha. She was here in SUMMER!”, and it’s true. But it’s also true that the snow will go, the flowers will grow, and from somewhere in the depths of North American basements swimming costumes and sunscreen will be found, and beach umbrellas and big floppy hats, brightly coloured beach towels and perky looking inflatable polkadot ducks. It happens. Every year.
Let me explain something to you, those who still don’t understand me: we don’t do that here. No, not only do Tasmanians not have basements (OMG I cannot BELIEVE American basements! I mean…all that storage, just there, and a furnace! Some people even have attics as well. Seriously!! It’s just like the TV!) but we don’t put things away for seasons because we won’t be needing them. Well, maybe we put the flannelette sheets away – but only sometimes. Sometimes we need them in spring, when the weather is chilly. Sometimes Autumn has a cold snap. Heck, one memorable year it snowed on the mountains in Summer!
See what I mean? We don’t put our swimming gear away for winter because we’ll probably need it. I took my boys for swimming lessons every Tuesday of last Winter, and I probably swam myself at least three times. We don’t put our parkas away in Summer because we know we’ll probably need them – even if it is wearing them over a tank top at the beach (how to pick a Tasmanian by their clothing: tank top and shorts with a down jacket over the top. Hmmm. And yes, I’m guilty).
We don’t rake leaves, for the most part, because most of our trees are evergreen. We don’t rejoice in Spring flowers as much as we could, because we have gardens that flower at odd times of the year anyway. We swim in Winter, pick flowers in Autumn, wear warm clothes in Summer, and we think that’s pretty normal down here.
Now do you see what I mean?
The other thing I loved about North America (probably the Northern Hemisphere in general, although I’ve only been to one part), is that there are celebrations for the seasons, and acknowledging them for what they are. Christmas cards in the Northern Hemisphere have pictures of snow, and crackling fires. Easter celebrations are all about new life, chicks and bunnies, and pictures of daffodils and spring flowers. Halloween, even is in pumpkin season, when there’s a million of them growing. Thanksgiving is about (traditionally) giving thanks for the Autumn harvest. There are seasons, and there are celebrations of those seasons. I like it.
I’ve been through a seasonal change too, just recently, but in my true Tasmanian fashion I didn’t think to stop and acknowledge it. My youngest child started full-time school in February. I’ve been a (mostly – I have a part-time job) stay-at-home mum for ten years; ten years of playgroup and toy library and trips to the playground, playdough and crafts and jigsaw puzzles and “what will we do today?”. I didn’t cry when he went off, I scurried home to try and achieve everything I’ve been wanting to get done for the last ten years…in six hours. It didn’t happen. And, because there was a lot to do, and because I still work part-time, much of it still hasn’t happened. Catching up on ten years is a slower process than I realised! Still, yesterday I did something very needed: I sorted out everything from this last season (colouring books and playdough cutters) and I put them away. I sorted textas and paper, craft and old boxes, and I put THEM away. I bought paper trays, got out my sewing machine, cleaned up my desk.
Once I would have felt a pang of guilt that I’d not been organised before this, or condemned myself for not having achieved so much more during that spring-time of my children’s lives. Now I know better. Life comes in seasons, whether we take time to acknowledge them or not. The better we can learn to embrace them the more content we will be.