This is my 8th season in England. I can’t believe how quickly time has flown. But I’ve really come to appreciate living through the distinct changes that each season brings. I know, I complain about the weather sometimes … or maybe often, but this is the ‘cultural’ thing to do, like fitting in. Actually, if you think about it, I’m not complaining so much about the weather, but rather the inconvenience of it (sometimes).
I love the summer months. It really is about the long days and bright sunshine. It’s about being out and about, going for walks, bike rides, eating out and coming home late and it’s still light. I do so much in summer. The only thing I hate about summer is how early the sun starts to rise, like about 3.30 am, where I can see the beginnings of dawn. It’s a problem if you have insomnia.
I love autumn and how the trees change. It is so subtle that often I don’t notice it. Each day the lush of the trees becomes a little less lush, and then suddenly 2 weeks later, the leaves are a lot more shrivelled up than I remember. Maybe it’s my imagination, I think to myself. But I’ve been taking photos, and yes the trees are a wee bit thinner than before. Then more and more leaves drop, and I find you are kicking the leaves as I walk on the paths. It’s nice to look across the park at all the different hues. Beautiful.
Then the rains come, and I find myself avoiding walking on the leaves, especially the big flat leaves, because it slides under my feet. Leaves are everywhere, and thank goodness for council workers who sweep up the leaves to make the townscape look neat and tidy – and less slippery.
Then the cold comes, and I feel really miserable and damp. But it’s a great excuse of just remaining indoors and finding new activities to keep me amused. The TV is on longer in the day, and so are the lights. I stand at the window and marvel at the amount of light left at what would be late afternoon in many other countries. ‘How can it be dark where once it was so bright’, I think to myself. Ironically, I also enjoy doing laundry in winter. With the radiators permanently on, everything dries much faster. So much easier than in summer. And no, I don’t have an outdoors area to hang out clothes.
The first falls of snow is lovely and powdery. I love it stepping into fresh snow. Makes me feel like a man on the moon. After a day (usually in London), it gets slushy, and recently, all terribly icy. This isn’t so much fun. Usually, this means traffic chaos and taking care how you move about town. In particular, I walk in the middle of the road where cars have been and ice has melted. This way I can get some grip and not fall over. Oh, the other thing when there’s snow about is how muted the world sounds, like being in a sound room. So different.
Thank goodness, no more snow. I enjoyed the last batch, but I have to say, I’m over having to suffer the chaos of it. We are now past December 21, that is, winter solstice, and ever so slowly the days are starting to get longer again. I really noticed it today, 3 weeks since winter solstice. 4 pm is just a bit brighter today than it was a week ago. It’s so exciting. Even though there’s another 2 months of winter, but I must say, I feel just a bit excited that spring is only 2 months round the corner.
Because … I really like spring. That’s when I notice the birds. Last year, I didn’t notice that the birds weren’t around in winter and it was only in spring that I remembered about the birds. This year, I notice they’re not there. It’s been so quiet in the morning – no birdsong. When spring arrives, the birds are up around 4.30 am chirping away. It’s annoying but it’s also lovely. These birds are so busy moving about. In time, you see little nests being created in the trees. I also love watching the tops of the trees from my apartment window where I can see squirrels running and jumping from branch to branch and tree to tree.
It’s just lovely. Can’t wait for spring. It’s only 2 months away.