Celebrating the Seasons
I was walking through Kroger yesterday and saw a display of candy corn at the end of the aisle: my stomach dropped. It can’t be, I thought. It’s only August! It’s too soon!!
As an Alabama native transplanted to the Midwest, I have a pretty intense bias toward summer, and winter fills me with dread. At first it’s all candy corn and Octoberfest; then before you know it, BAM! You’re clawing the walls, trapped inside with chapped lips for half the year.
Clearly, I have not been the best sport when it comes to embracing the seasons. I desperately want to be one of those people who makes the most of this wonderful revolving planet we live on. That being said, I am writing this post mostly to provide myself with coping strategies- I hope they will encourage you as well!
The truth is, each season brings its own unique beauty; and if we can find ways to lean into those differences (rather than complain about them), we have an opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. Here are some ways I’ve heard of/want to try to delight in the unique qualities each season has to offer.
Soak it up.
In the summer drag out the grill, picnic blankets and baby pool and wear them out. Sit on the porch in rocking chairs and watch the fireflies. Get sweaty.
In the fall go tail-gating, and camping (if you’re into that kind of thing) build fires, and leaf piles. Don’t let a crisp evening pass you by without a cup of cider in your hands.
In winter pile on the sweater and scarves and hats and play in snow (if you have it). Wrap blankets around yourself and cozy up with people you love. Hang mistletoe and drink hot cocoa and don’t skimp on the marshmallows.
In the spring hunt down some daffodils and tulips to fill your vases with. Find opportunities to pet baby animals and sneak a peak at eggs in a nest. Take walks, wear cardigans and fill your color-starved eyes with all the green.
Eat the seasons.
Eating food that’s in season is cheaper, more delicious, and better for the environment because it doesn’t have to travel as far. Afraid you’ll be stuck eating only asparagus for a month straight? Do a little research; you’ll be surprised by the variety of foods that are available in a given season. Eating seasonally makes you look forward to foods you know you’ll only eat for a short time.
Let peach juice roll down your chin all summer long and throw pomegranate seeds in everything you can think of all winter!
In addition to fruits and veggies, try choosing signature dishes that you only make during a certain season. You know how Starbucks gets everyone exited and anticipating pumpkin spiced lattes? Try using the power of delayed gratification to make some of your favorite dishes even more special. Or, use the changing of the season as a chance to hunt down new ideas for signature dishes: the quest is half the fun! Last fall, I fell in love with a molasses cookie recipe and made it once a week all season long. I forced myself to retire it once winter hit, and now it’s one of the things I’m looking forward to most about October rolling around.
If you think eating seasonally sounds good but don’t know how to go about planning your meals, try Elaine’s Capsule Kitchen approach to get started!
Create traditions for the in-between times.
Are there any traditions you can add to make an otherwise unremarkable time of year more memorable? Our friends Katie and Joey Elliott have a tradition of watching through all of the Harry Potter movies starting on Halloween and ending around Christmas; each time they watch one of the movies, they make it festive by serving magic-themed snacks and drinks and inviting people over to share in the fun.
As a way of combating the post-Christmas, deep-winter blahs, our family has a tradition of building a cut paper snowflake installation in our living room (think Buddy the elf, only amateur). We start in December and keep it up through February. Part of the fun is having people who visit our home cut their own and add it to the magic!
Take advantage of a fresh start.
Each new season marks a new chapter in the year, an opportunity to think about our lives from a broader perspective and move towards making some changes.
“Any beginning is a time of special power for habit creation, and at certain times we experience a clean slate in which circumstances change in a way that makes a fresh start possible –if we’re alert for the opportunity.”
-Gretchen Rubin, Better than Before
I think because I love school and taught for a while, the beginning of fall feels like an especially great time to get new school supplies, set goals and cast vision. It is amazing how much better I feel about things when I’m thinking proactively versus just letting life happen to me. Setting goals seasonally helps me stay in touch with the “why?” behind the to-do lists that fill up my days.
I hope these thoughts help you enjoy the seasons a little more as they come your way!