Limbo

5 Dec

That’s the term I used when speaking to my Ozzie TA about the lack of seasons in California. Not that the seasons are particularly distinct in Australia as far as I know, but she seemed to think that “limbo” was a very accurate description — she seemed fascinated by the idea that Los Angeles is “between heaven and hell.”

But she said something very true — that the lack of seasons translates into a loss of the sense of movement, and that this really “messes with your head.” A reverse motion sickness? I’ve certainly felt it. It’s as if time stands still, prolonging my miseries (this phrase courtesy of Lune de miel by T.S. Eliot). School seems to drag on forever, painfully, when the weather makes me think that it’s still August.

Okay, so it feels more like September right now. But no one — I don’t care if you’re from California — no one has a right to complain that it’s “cold” here. No offence, but you come off as a major whimp if you do. And you certainly can’t say that 55 degrees at night is “freezing”, since water doesn’t freeze until 32 degrees, and as a human being, you can easily avoid freezing until well below that. Instead of complaining, be grateful that you don’t have to suit up like an astronaut before you go outside, or spend half an hour cleaning the snow and ice off your car in the morning and then defrosting the windows.

But for me, that’s what winter is. That’s what it’s supposed to be. And nothing beats the beauty of the first snowfall, the peace and quiet of a snowy countryside, the excitement of trekking to an isolated snow-covered hill or forest clearing, the thrill of watching the snow dump down during a blizzard, the beauty of distant, warm parlour lights and Christmas lights during a cold winter night, the pleasure of coming in from the cold to a warm house with hot chocolate and blankets and a fireplace, or the ironic beauty of walking through your blindingly white yard on a sunny winter day.

Sure, by March or April, I’m tired of winter, but it’s just part of the cycle of time. I get even more tired when every day is practically the same. There’s no motion. By this time, I should have already passed between three seasons:

(That’s Jenne Farm in Reading, Vermont, btw, which is one of the most photographed farms in the world. Which made it easy to find similar shots from different seasons.)

What can I say, though? I love the seasons. I love each one. Each has its own set of smells, and sensations, and memories…each is wonderful and beautiful in its own way. And if you’ve never lived in an area with all four seasons, I encourage you to do so before you die.

Okay, so I’m a little homesick. As Professor Finnegan said to me tonight, “New England is the cat’s meow.” Damn straight. But he also said that New England can be “boringly beautiful,” which is also true. It’s part of what prompted me to leave in the first place. I love travelling, experiencing new sensations, discovering new beauties. But there’s no place like home.

I also really miss my dog. I honestly don’t know if I can survive six months in England without seeing her. I mean, really, she only has a few more years to live and the thought of spending half a year without her seeing me makes me a bit sad. Maybe I can manage to find a really cheap flight home for part of Spring Break if I look now; it would be good to see my family and hopefully my friends, too, obviously. Six months is a long time to be away from home.

But I’m definitely going to make the best of it. I’ve been distracted by my thoughts of traveling in Britain and throughout Europe. I’ll have more time to plan that later, though.

In the meantime, I need to finish this bloody TO paper. Wish me luck; pray for me; whatever. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, getting through life frequently consists in suffering, and suffering frequently consists in writing papers for my honours GE courses.

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2 Responses to “Limbo”

  1. Andrew 20 February 2008 at 12:02 #

    As a transplanted Californian in New England, however (going to college here), although the snow and the crackling fire is wonderful, when it doesn’t snow (like this winter — I’m on the Connecticut shore) and the wind is howling through and your cheeks are flushed and the school-installed heaters are not working well and the snow has frozen over into ice so it’s easy to trip, the New England winter is not so great.

    I love New England, don’t get me wrong — I’m actually thinking of staying here after school is over, because I love the seasons, and the culture. But I thought I’d pipe up in defense and say that while the Californian “seasons” are romanticized (yes, it DOES rain; May/June/July gloom can ruin summer mornings; and the dry dusty Santa Ana winds are terrible. And it does get cold in the winter at night. It was 39 degrees one night when I was home over winter break, and I’m sorry, but that’s not warm by any stretch of the term), New England isn’t perfect by any mean.s

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Differences between California and New England « Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously - 5 December 2007

    […] I wrote about differences in population density, yearned for New England cuisine, lamented the lack of seasons in SoCal, and the issue of regional differences has been a prominent topic in my posts ever […]

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