Although I didn’t get this done in time to post on Friday, the Red Writing Hood assignment this week, from Write on Edge , was in honor of Labor Day and the end of summer rapidly approaching. The prompt asked us to write about a season of change for a fictional character or for ourselves. It could be literal or metaphorical.
I’ve been told it snowed in San Antonio, once, when I was a little girl, but I have no memory of a blanket of white covering our ground, only a faint image of powder dusting a playground. By the time school was out, the black top was sweaty again. I never dreamed of white Christmases, chilled nights around a bonfire or watching leaves change colors. It never occurred to me that four seasons are distinctly different and have their own personalities.
Spring in Texas meant bluebonnets and occasional rain. It was Easter dinner with family and spring break with my friends. Summer was flip-flops and tank tops, and flowing skirts that wouldn’t cling to your body. Winter meant layering enough clothes for warmth in the early morning, but peeling them off to be cool in the afternoon. The heaviest coat I ever owned was an army green field jacket I bought on sale at Banana Republic. Fall was football and pep-rallies, letter jackets that were too warm to wear, and drinking Slurpees on the hood of my best friend’s car on a Friday night.
Spring, summer, winter, fall I remember sunshine.
I moved to Michigan in June of 2001. That was the coolest summer they had experienced in years. The average temperature was only 70 degrees. It felt like fall and I was fearful of the winter. As soon as the cold weather hit, I hibernated. The sun disappeared for months and I felt trapped. Of course, it didn’t help that I was pregnant.
My hormones were going crazy.
I was homesick.
I missed eating outside with friends and sleeping with the windows open. I missed afternoons in the sun sipping sweet tea. I missed my family and listening to my brother play his guitar under the stars around the chimenea. I missed the sun.
The snow was unforgiving. My hands and feet felt numb all the time. I could barely catch my breath without feeling the icy pressure of cold winds. Occasional sun peeked its head out in early March, taunting me to come outside. White sticky snow had given way to dirty slush. Unfortunately, just as the promise of spring started whispering, I went into early labor and spent the next 6 weeks on bed rest. The Hare was born April 16th, 2002. Instead of onesies and naked toes, I swaddled her in long-johns and warm socks. Her bucket car-seat was layered in blankets if we left the house.
The first year of a baby’s life is a blur. You are so focused on making sure they are fed, clean and happy that everything else sort of fades into the peripheral. Sleep deprivation probably has a lot to do with that too. And I was still homesick.
Summer 2003 the sun suddenly felt very warm. The girls were now five and one. We packed up and traveled all over the place visiting dairy farms, zoos, botanical centers and splash parks. As the sun started to fade in September we fed the ducks and caught fireflies. In October I decided to venture out to apple orchards and cider mills. We tromped around in squishy pumpkin patches and muddy rows of acorn squash. November we made cornucopia and traced their hands to make turkey feathers on paper placements. We played in the leaves and made mini-bonfires, roasted marshmallows and ate s’mores. December we cut down our own Christmas tree and ate freshly made donuts. January, February and March we tried to catch snowflakes on our tongues, made snow angels and snowmen, went sledding and drank lots of hot chocolate and baked cookies in the afternoons. By the time the girls’ birthdays rolled around again, I realized I had spent another year in Michigan, another year away from Texas and my family, only this time, I wasn’t homesick any more.
I was home.