What season is it, anyway?

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Early autumn colours in Muskoka, Ontario

We returned to New Zealand a few days ago after a two-week trip to Canada, where Mr. Wanderlust had to travel on business. The Wanderlust Juniors and I joined him, taking the opportunity to visit family.

We arrived in Toronto on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend, known in North America as the final summer weekend before the start of the new school year. Early September in the northern hemisphere signifies new beginnings not only for school children and university students. Many refer to it as the ‘other new year,’ perceiving it as an ideal time to make new health-related resolutions and start new projects. Autumn has always been my favourite season and I relish its golden and crimson colours, vibrant chrysanthemums at the farmers’ markets, and crisp mornings. I gratefully lean into the cosy warmth of the roaring fireplace following a rainy walk on the forest trail in October. I cherish the lingering traditional Thanksgiving comfort feast of turkey with root vegetables, cranberry sauce, and apple pie. I look forward, each year, to carving pumpkins in preparation for Hallowe’en. But not this year.

I have become dependent on the seasons, and the study of Ayurveda has reinforced that relationship, teaching me to nourish my body with warm, wholesome foods in the colder months. And so, back in NZ, where early September signifies the start of the spring season, I am greeted again by seasonal confusion. The buds on the trees are starting to sprout and the sheep grazing in the roadside fields are now accompanied by mini versions of themselves. Cherry and apple blossoms adorn our neighbours’ front yards, and the days are starting to become warmer, though rainy.

Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en are not celebrated in NZ. Walking through a dollar store in northern Ontario, the Wanderlust Juniors exclaimed with excitement upon seeing the aisles filled with ghouls, spider webs, and various other Hallowe’en decor and costumes. Walking through the local shopping mall in Mount Maunganui this morning, I caught sight of cotton summer dresses in bright colours, as well as straw beach hats and swimsuits. Beach season will be here in a few months.

Despite the disorientation, I am grateful for having two places that I can now call ‘home,’ one in the north and one in the south of the globe. Although it will take some time for me to get comfortable with the seasons in the southern hemisphere, and although I will miss the autumnal holidays that I love, it’s time to create new traditions. I suspect they will involve the beach and frequent barbecue suppers, and that sounds like a great start.

Your turn: Do you look forward to certain seasons and the celebrations that they bring? Do you enjoy the traditional four seasons or are you impartial to them? Please leave a comment below to contribute to the conversation.

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Bright beauty in Georgian Bay

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2 months 28 days ago

My favourite season is not the same in every part of the world. In Ontario it most definitely is the end of summer and early fall. Nothing beats the spectacle of fall colours and warm summery days with cool nights and campfires to gather around. For me, it is a quiet time, after the abundant summer. In my home country, my favourite time of year definitely is Spring with warm exciting days immediately following the dreary and cool winter, and spring flowers popping up that come with associated celebrations of their own and sunny days to gather with friends on… Read more »

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