Having just entered Spring (by date) and Summer (by weather) simultaneously, I have only now come to realize how silly it is that we keep an accepted standard of four equal seasons. Truth be told, having grown up in California, I have always known this standard as silly, and yet somehow I didn’t realize it until I moved to the Great Sweaty Crotch of the USA. There is a subtle difference between knowledge and realization.
Sure, it might have once been useful to group the year into four categories based on the length of the day and the position of the sun, but sadly we no longer use folk astronomy to plan our harvests and festivals, thus our modern seasons serve solely as an indication of what weather to expect (and hence, which clothes are on sale at Macy’s [or Walmart]).
This, we know:
Winter – cold and snowy
Spring – comfortable and bloomy
Summer – hot and lively
Autumn – cool and vibrant
…and somehow we accept this, as if it’s even remotely applicable to anywhere outside of the Midwest. I have never had a snowy winter anywhere I’ve lived. My autumns are usually shockingly hot, and my springs usually last around two or three weeks. All in all, the standard Four-Even-Seasons model could not be a less accurate representation of my realities.
For instance, San Francisco has two seasons: the season of 60 degree weather and the season of 63 degree weather. Lest we not forget microclimates, San Jose (a mere hour south) has five whole seasons (see below) in stark contrast to San Francisco’s two. And of course, some seasons are longer and some are shorter. The Texan Winter, for instance, is really just that one lone day of the year people wear jackets.
Thus, in an effort to celebrate the unique geographical and meteorological differences between various regions of the USA, I propose redefining seasons to be unique to each individual area. Here are my proposals for the places with which I’m familiar…