The Four Seasons was an American rock and pop band that became internationally successful in the 60's and 70's... Just kidding. This is about the earth and its changing seasons.
Most people know that the four seasons -- spring, summer, autumn and winter -- exist on earth as a result of its tilt on its axis, compared to its orbit around the sun. Knowing that the orbit is not perfectly round might cause one to think that summer happens when the earth is closest to the sun and winter when it's farthest away, but that is not the case. Because of the tilt, part of the earth is getting more energy from the sun in summer and less in winter. In spring and autumn the amount of energy becomes more-or-less equal around the globe. Also, because of the tilt, the northern and southern hemispheres enjoy opposite seasons from the other (the US experiences summer while it is winter in Australia, and vice-versa).
But nature is not content to simply make the temperatures shift from one season to the next. The earth's climate revolves around the changes in solar energy, and each geologic region has its own peculiarities. Some are universal, such as snow and ice in winter, autumn changing of colors of leaves as the deciduous trees make less and less chlorophyll, flowers blooming in the spring and summer, and monsoons and hurricanes appear as the heat of summer warms the atmosphere and oceans.
Humans have adapted well to the seasons, especially in agriculture. This has enhanced hopes and expectations as each season begins to wane and make way for the next. Spring is for planting, and fall is forever harvest time. Summer is for work and play, while winter is for hunkering down and hibernation.
I have had the opportunity to live in a variety of locations around the country throughout my life, from the two seasons of California (summer and fall) to the two seasons of Western New York (winter and August 12th, or winter and construction, depending on who you ask), but also the four seasons in Washington State and Kansas. Even those areas that seem to skip seasons truthfully don't. You just have to be paying more attention.
Contrast is a big reason that the changing seasons enhance the human experience. The warmth of spring and summer can be fully appreciated once one has survived the colder fall and winter. The rains of spring follow the snow or ice of winter. The heat of summer replaces the chill of spring. The cooler breezes and autumn storms follow the dry heat of summer.
As one would expect, everyone seems to have their own favorite and disliked seasons. Growing up in heat or cold doesn't necessarily make one like them more or less. It really is an individual taste. But, the universal themes of hope and anticipation accompany nearly every change of season. In my case, however, dread of winter was always my autumn emotion.
I received a variety of comments from friends, fans and followers on this topic. Here are a few of those (some have been edited or paraphrased):
Abraham F.- Arizona's season's are almost bearable -- Hot, Stupid Hot, and What the Heck Am I Still Doing Here?
Donna H.- I think we look forward to the "change" in each season! It gives you renewed hope and something to look forward to!!
Jennifer C.- So many different things you can do in every different season that you can’t do in another... I think my favorite is spring, with flowers blooming, the smell of fresh cut grass and no mosquitoes, who aren’t out yet.
Peggy H.- I live in California. There are two seasons here. Hot and very hot, with occasional spells of rain and temperatures hovering around 60°. I got nothin'.
BLSMSS- The four seasons make me happy to see the beauty it brings. Fall brings the beauty of colorful leaves. Here in New York, driving the roads means seeing all the colors the trees produce. Winter is the glistening of sparkles from the ice and snow, just like a prism. Spring brings all the beautiful flowers in all radiant colors as well as the beautiful butterflies. In summer, the trees are so full, the waters are filled from thaw, and people are out enjoying life. Like Jack's pictures, nature’s beauty is what makes me smile throughout the seasons.
Nadyne H.- I love three of the four seasons. I dislike summer if it is higher than 80 degrees and/or 50% humidity. I don't even mind winter! Fall is my favorite season because it signals the end of summer and there's a nice chill in the air. I love the fall leaves, primarily in the east and northwest, with all their bright, beautiful colors. I have to admit that as much as I love Colorado, fall is a disappointment -- autumn in Colorado is all about yellow, only yellow. After living in New York and experiencing fall there, nothing will ever live up to it again I'm afraid.
Canadian Hellie- Summer is play time for all ages and harvest time for gardeners and farmers. Fall is the most beautiful with all of Mother Nature's beautiful array of colors. This could be my favourite time due to the beauty, the warm days and cooler nights. Winter is calming and the nights are much brighter with to the moon's rays bouncing off the snow. It used to be a playland for me too; but not so much anymore. Spring is awesome, it's renewal time, the hope for farm crops and vegetable gardens that are planted and the hint of summer to follow. I love all the seasons and sometimes I wonder if the winter season will never end; but it does. Sometimes it seems as though we jump from winter into summer and miss spring completely.
Buddy and Cathy- We like all four seasons but I like the spring best because that is when God wakes up all of the beautiful creation that he has allowed to sleep for a while.
Steve and Aileen P.- Budy and Kathy's are our sentiments exactly!! We were watching the meteor shower tonight! The wonders of His creation!!
Candy and the Dogs- I love the rythm it sets. Each changing season marks the passage of time in a flow that makes it easier to cement memories. Whether it’s Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall each period has a unique edge that sets the tone. Renewal, rebirth, rejoicing or reflection -- all are easily marked as time passes with the changing seasons.
Brenda and Bob- Taking a Fork in the Road- I think the best thing about season change is the variety -- spring flowers, blue skies in the summer, and the crispness of the air in the fall. I grew up in Southern California but lived as an adult on the East Coast for eight years. What I enjoyed most about that was people prepared in the Fall for the Spring -- basically it told me that people were hopeful. If they wanted a nice Spring they had to do some things in the Fall to get it.
Mary Y- Spring is my season. The intense colors of flowers and spring greens. It is all about a new beginning, a chance to start anew.
I'll finish with a quote from American writer Rebecca Solnit, who said, "For millions of years, this world has been a great gift to nearly everything living on it, a planet whose atmosphere, temperature, air, water, seasons, and weather were precisely calibrated to allow us - the big us, including forests and oceans, species large and small - to flourish."
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.