Lightly Seasoned

I think I need to move North.

This isn’t a funny-ha-ha because I’m currently living in the hottest, driest part of a summer scorcher in central Texas, but because I miss having weather to talk about. I miss having a change of seasons. I miss being thrilled when winter thaws to bring on the swell of spring, or when summer cools to bring the awe of autumn. There are cycles in weather. There are overcast days. There are clear blue skies. There’s frozen precipitation. A cold front is a guarantee of rain. And rain can go on for days. In central Texas, not so much.

I’ve been looking at pictures of Europe, Canada, and Alaska during the summertime, and I’m floored by how lush and vibrant everything is. Flowers on the hillsides. Mountains typically covered in snow are rolling in tall green grass. Even the areas less picturesque are still in bloom. Since the winters are harsh, sometimes unforgiving, everything that grows takes the fullest advantage when it can. So the greens are greener. The woods are thicker. Nature has a narrow window to thrive, and it does it at full power. Our green season is in April, but we’re south of the latitude that stays green. Everything below that turns brown and red and becomes arid, so our green season ends in June.

It’s been 11 years since I moved to Austin, and I will confess that I love this place. It’s usually dry, so the driving is decently safe, roadwise. It’s usually sunny, so the sightseeing is abundant. It’s usually warm, so people wear less more often. It’s a great town and a good area. But that’s just it: these are constants. We have our “cold” months between December and mid-march; maybe a bit of snow once or twice every three years. Otherwise, it’s the same-old. Excepting the four-month scorching drought of summer, this area is flatlined as far as seasons go.

Austin is the Paxil of seasonal weather.

I like that I can drive on dry roads and stroll around during 40°F nights during the winter, but I want some variety. There’s a reason most of the best electronic bands come from the north; for 5 months of the year, they’re locked in and snowed under with little to do outside. There’s a rich life indoors. And when the winter thaws, oh damn do they throw some parties. The ones locked up the most have the wildest throwdowns because that’s their limited window of opportunity. They have to bring out their colors. They have to bring on their rut. They have to live it up because that’s their time to shine in the sun. Winter is constantly around the corner, so motivation is strong.

It’s always nice weather here; even when it’s shitty, it’s still relatively nice. So what’s the rush here? There’s always a nice weekend to have a barbecue or sit on the porch. Central Texans live on a different clock. But when most northern cultures are living it up, we’re either stuck inside due to overheating (and hating the boredom) or biking/kayaking/climbing because that’s what hard-core “extreme” people do (the rest of us sweat miserably and do nothing because we’re stifled).

I know I don’t do well in cold weather, but that’s a matter of training and acclimation. I don’t think I would mind learning how to handle it. If the yankees will teach me how to survive the winter, I think I could find it in my heart to teach them how to survive the summer. Deal?