I remember, vaguely, a time in which my wonderful old college friends and I were relaxing on a Sunday, sitting around the couch and talking about our friendship. We started going around in a circle, trying to find one word to describe each of us. While this activity was totally Seventh Heaven of us, it was actually very fun, and one of my dearest memories (despite the fact that I can’t remember when this was or why we started!) One of the words that came up to describe me was “festive.” I laughed, but boy, did they hit the nail on the head. I am incredibly festive. If I am completely honest with myself, my favorite holiday is whatever one is currently being represented by the dollar section of Target.
The day after Thanksgiving I begged James to leave Pennsylvania, where we were celebrating with his parents, at 5 am so we could be home by eight and have the tree up and the house decorated by noon. I was so excited to decorate for Christmas. I truly believe that it is the most wonderful time of the year, and I couldn’t wait to have all of the twinkly lights up, the tree adorned, the nine (yes, nine, please don’t judge) Christmas pillows filling our couch. When it was all done my heart felt more settled than it had in weeks.
And yet, come January sixth, I woke up just as anxious, running around like a crazy person, furious at myself for sleeping in because the tree needed to come down. While Christmas day is always a little sad for me, knowing that the season is on the downhill slope, the Feast of the Epiphany finds me ready for the next stage.
This brings me to my philosophical discovery of the day: while Christmas is, still, obviously, don’t even try to fight me on this, the most wonderful time of the year, I believe that our hearts sing for the changing of the seasons.
Take, for instance, the excitement of the first snowfall. In March, snow is absolutely dreadful. It is the reason for traffic jams, it makes everyone late, it turns to ice and gathers the dirt from the street leaving every corner with a pile of black and grey sludge that makes your heart hurt for the ugliness.
But in December when the first flakes fall? Oh, it’s magical! Every white flake is a brilliant magical crystal dusting the world in hope and innocence and you walk around truly believing that yes, life is indeed a Hallmark movie. In December we are ready for the sign of the season – snow! In March, we are again ready for the season to change, aching for the color green and flowers beginning to bloom.
The thing is, while I am always the most excited about Christmas, I find myself excited about each milestone that proves that time is marching on. On December 22 when days stop getting shorter and start getting longer, when the sun sets one minute later rather than earlier, I am elated. Today I counted out the minutes and figured out that by February 1st, the sun won’t set until I am pulling into my parking garage, home for the day from work. By Valentine’s day, the sun will have risen by the time my alarm goes off in the morning. I can’t wait.
With each day that passes we reach more and more milestones, all of which I adore. The addition of all pink and red candy in the Valentine’s section at Target. The first time we walk out of our houses with only a light wrap on. The first time we wear open toed shoes again.
I remember distinctly an event last May that took place during the last cold-wave before summer really set in. We had all planned to wear sundresses, but the forecast made it seem like a bad idea. I posed the issue to my friend Autumn to which she replied, “I don’t believe in weather.” It has become one of my favorite mantras.
April means pastel colors again. June means being outdoors as much as possible. If you live in DC, August means planning as many trips out of town as you can because oh-my-gosh-this-humidity-I’m-melting-and-I-can’t-take-it-anymore. By September, despite not having children or being a student you can’t help but feel the strong desire to buy school supplies and with October comes a craving for pumpkin everything.
I don’t know if we are naturally wired to change our tastes, cravings, and interests with the seasons, or if it is, indeed, because of the dollar section of Target. Is it the fault of TJ Maxx that I love every kind of red and green pillow from November 15th-January 6th but come January 6th I can’t get rid of it fast enough? Do I even like the taste of pumpkin spice or has Starbucks just brain washed me to think I need it from September-November? Does it matter?
Last year, after a particularly bad few days teaching at school, I went to my usual 4:45 pm barre class. I was venting on the phone to my mom on my one mile walk home at 5:45, not finding the good in anything when I realized something was different. I had reached my front door and there was still light in the sky. Spring had arrived in a tangible way. I no longer had to walk in the [literal] darkness, and that was something to celebrate.
That is the whole point of getting excited about the changing of the seasons: there is something to celebrate! January can often be the drudgiest of months, but when you think of things to celebrate, even just that you have six square feet of your apartment back because the tree is down, you don’t mind it as much. Couldn’t we all stand to be a wee bit more festive?