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It’s cold out.

This will come as no surprise to those of you who’ve been in Maine anywhere beyond September and before June; it gets cold up here, and we know it’s going to , and we all shove our halter tops and shorts and sandals to the back of the closet and drag out the heavywear. Big puffy coats that take up the whole rack. Boots that look like they could walk up Katahdin by themselves. Mad Bombers. Longjohns, scarves, two-inch-thick socks, those fabulous heated gloves….

(this post could easily turn into another wish-list)

That’s not my point, though. Because it’s not that cold out yet. Oh, it’s cold – in the 40s and falling – but we’ve got a few grace days before the white stuff starts flying, and this is my favorite part of the year. The sky is that deep Wyeth blue-gray and the wind is strong enough to scatter the clouds all over it; the leaves are mostly gone, and those left are that defeated crispy-crackly burned brown. There will be no more Indian-summer days now.

Before you decide I’m incredibly morbid, I get to enjoy this “time” four times a year, yay for me. I used to think summer was my favorite season – my birthday, green everywhere, lazy beach afternoons and the very pleasant memory of three months of farking off during school break – these things weighed the scales pretty heavily, no surprise. A few years ago, when I’d finally gotten over the hope of one day returning to an academic schedule, I decided it was spring I liked best, if only because I’m so damn tired of winter by February that I start looking for it everywhere, and the little hint of red in the tips of tree branches seems like a miracle around then. When autumn rolls around I always find myself looking forward to the smell – dying leaves have a weird nutmeg-parchment-fresh earth scent to them – and the cool days and cooler nights. And I love the rubbery sound of wet snow under my boots, at least up until the holiday season is over. (I suspect the memory of snow days also adds some rosy glow to my perception of winter, and now that I’m back working in an academic institution, albeit not on the longed-for schedule, I get to look forward to the occasional snow day again in my late 20s. Turns out childhood isn’t quite over yet. 🙂 )

But after a while I figured out why I can’t pick, and why I’m at my lowest mood and energy- wise in the middle of any season: it’s the point of change I love, not the season itself. Winter to spring when the light’s coming back and the sap is visibly rising in the trees and you can just start to smell cold water and wet earth on the wind; spring to summer when that impossible pale green color deepens and everything wakes up and blooms/barks/screeches/expands, trying to attract a mate; spring to fall when the clouds have that blue-gray color and the air never stops moving; fall to winter, when the smell of ice is on the air and the light dies by the day. Watching the constant shift never gets old. I think it’s why I ended up a pagan; the agricultural year has such a resonance for me.
Aaaaand -I’m not editing my newly-minted first draft. Can you tell?