by Wayne Geiger
In the movie, Napoleon Dynamite, Summer Wheatley campaigns to be the school class president. The ever-popular Summer, born with a great name, reveals her campaign slogan as, “With me, it will be summer all year long. Vote for Summer!” Great slogan. Who doesn’t love summer!
Growing up in Miami was kind of like that—summer all year long. We did have some “cold” weather, but back then, I thought that 60s were cold. After moving to the Midwest, one of the things that fascinated our family was experiencing the seasons for the first time. Seasons were a totally foreign concept to us.
Our first fall was nothing short of amazing. The cool, crisp breeze was delightful and refreshing. The beautiful colors of the season, majestic.
We had never seen the changing of the leaves before or had the chance to watch as they fell helplessly from the trees. My wife still tells the story of how she almost ran off the road because she was enthralled by the spectacular beauty of that first fall.
I wasn’t prepared for our first winter. I honestly never dreamed it could get so cold and had never experienced snow. The first time it snowed overnight, I pulled up to work about 4 AM. I was the first one there and the uncleared lot had about six inches of snow.
I called a coworker and said, “I’m not sure where to park.” Silence. “what do you mean?” he said. Thinking that maybe he didn’t hear me, I said, “I’m not sure where to park. There is snow all over the lot.”
More silence. I added, “I can’t see the lines and I’m not sure if I should just pull into the snow!” “Just pull in somewhere,” he laughed, “everybody will just pull in next to you.”
Now, springtime is my favorite. The bitterly cold, harsh winter has finally released its unrelenting grip and surrendered to the promise of new life. The temperatures are pleasant and, all around us, we see evidence of new life.
I love seeing the grass, trees, and flowers make their reappearance. I don’t even mind the sudden emergence of dandelions. In spring, we get to exchange our winter coats for short sleeves and bright colors and once again enjoy the outdoors without Under Armour and gloves.
“It gets really hot here in the summer!” everyone warned us. They were right. Living in Miami, and then New Orleans, we rarely saw triple digit temperatures. Also, in Miami, we always had a little breeze and it rained gently almost every day—just enough to cool things off.
However, New Orleans was another story. The heat was sweltering and there was no breeze. In addition, we were surrounded by waterways, called bayous, and the humidity was unbearable at times. I can remember stepping outside early in the morning and feeling like I had stepped into a sauna.
All in all, I love the changing of the seasons. I also love the fact that it gives us something to talk about, or sometimes, complain about. During the long, bitterly cold winter we complain about how cold it is and we long for warmer temps.
Then, in the summer, as the heat wave and the incessant talk of the triple-digit heat index continues, we long for the relief of cooler temps. It seems we’re always looking towards the next season.
In each of the seasons there is variety—a mixture of beauty, an element of fun. Of course, in each season, there are struggles and difficulties. For example, the winter snow is beautiful and can provide so many fun experiences, but it can be bitterly cold, dark and dreary, and we fight the winter flu.
Springtime means new life and the opportunity to be outside again. But tissues become a regular part of our wardrobe as allergies cause so many to suffer. Summertime means fun in the sun—a time of vacation and recreation. But, for many, it does get unbearably hot and then there is the drudgery of continually cutting the grass.
Finally, the fall, is gorgeous, but raking the leaves is no fun at all and the return of cool air reminds us of the impending winter looming on the horizon, awaiting to pounce.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve noticed that life is seasonal. Sometimes, life is like the summer season. We’re enjoying the sun, got the top down, the wind is in our hair, and life, overall, is good. At other times, like the season of winter, life can be dark and dreary. There is sadness, sickness, or heartbreak.
In each season of life there is an element of fun and excitement, but also unfortunate struggles, disappointments, and sorrow. In each season of life, it’s important to remember that it is only a season. Although I would have voted for Pedro, I would prefer that it was summer all year long. But that’s not possible. Thankfully, seasons are temporary and transitional. The cold, bitter winter will eventually give way to reveal the beautiful colors and fragrances of spring.