All Four Seasons

I used to thank God for the changing seasons. Balanced on the stool with the sliding cushion in that second floor 4th grade class. I thanked Him when the lake across the street froze, white lines of frost sketching across the iced surface. I thanked Him when my commute to school was an hour longer than it should have been, and the snow and ice pelted my car, slowed traffic to a hesitant crawl. I thanked Him when the sun’s rays could not pierce the heavy cloud cover, when we stomped our feet and breathed painful, foggy breaths into our scarves.

Thank you for all four seasons. Thank you for this pinwheel of temperatures, storms, weather eternally spinning around us. 

I have a video, barely 10 seconds long. Larissa, still sporting her blue coat, the reflective strip around the collar dull in the bland winter light. She stands on the corner, between plaza and fountains, both of which lie empty in the cold. Do you remember, she exclaims into the camera as the wind plays faintly with the wispy hairs around her face, when it was so cold and Laura and me ran in the snow up there? Here she motions with a baggy coat sleeve towards the plaza behind us. The plaza where, weeks ago, the snow blew in icy gusts through the city, and the open expanse of the raised plaza became like a dance floor for the waves and swirls of frigid air and the ice pellets masquerading as snow. Yes, they ran in the snow. And minutes later, unwrapping scarves, hoods, shedding mittens, we also thawed our eyelashes, watching tiny crystals melt off of each other.

Thank you for all four seasons. Thank you for protecting us when the wind is its sharpest, the roads are their iciest, the cold is its most bitter. 

This afternoon, I’m the first one to arrive at the plaza, across from the fountains. There’s a planter, there on the corner, and I let my bookbag slide down my arm, land heavily on the neat white cement. My shoulders are damp with sweat where the thick fabric straps rested. The planter is home to several sprouting trees, and I pull my feet in, lean my entire body into the shade that they provide. The air itself is hot; the breeze is heated, blowing my skirt, my hair askew. In front of me, a group of 10 high schoolers troops down the orange brick sidewalk loudly, yet their noise disappears almost as fast as they do, almost as if the heat itself has swallowed, muted, their raucous voices.

Thank you for all four seasons. Thank you for the freedom we have to live, to explore, to go, during the warmer months of the year. 

We sit outside to eat. It’s too cold inside- the restaurant proprietors apparently having fallen under the false assumption that the intensity of the air conditioning inside must be proportional to the summer heat outside. But the sun, quickly reaching its zenith, is uncomfortably hot, at least for a meal. How can one eat, how can one sit and converse, when the sun is blank, burning, bristling on one’s head, back, shoulders, face. So we sit in the shade, on the edge of the plaza, and eat our lunch. The napkins blow, attempt escape, in the breeze. My hair flies, knots, my bangs sticking to my damp forehead. The drinks in our glasses, lacking ice, are room temperature in minutes. Standing, we’re sticky, sinking, and yet not buried, beneath the cloudless sky. Walking home, cold drinks clutched in sweaty palms drip condensation. Walkers pause to wipe brows, and then seem to shrug off the heat as they set off again. The sidewalk buzzes, and the beach, I imagine, is even busier.

Thank you for all four seasons. Thank you for this pinwheel of temperatures, storms, weather eternally spinning around us. 

~ Natalia

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Grandma S.
    Jul 30, 2015 @ 18:35:22

    I think restaurants gear the AC toward the employees who are bustling around busily and not the customers who are sitting there shivering. I always take a sweater to a restaurant even if the temp. is 98 outside.

    Reply

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