Go Outside and Play

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the dragonflies have sent the black flies packing!

Do you live somewhere with wildly varying seasons? Here in New England, the change in weather prompts me to want nothing so much as the chance to go outside and play. That urge causes me to alter my routines and lifestyle to a surprising extent. For instance, my morning routine of coffee, reading, and meditation takes place in the library in the cold months. My dog Sam knows to race up the stairs and station himself in one of the wingback chairs just as soon as I lift my espresso cup away from the machine, at least as long as the heat vents pump out hot air. But as soon as the furnace is switched off he waits patiently by the back door each morning instead. He knows that when the air has warmed we move the whole operation to the screen house.

I lug a record player and a slew of vinyl to the deck and spend the afternoons sipping espresso tonics and listening to big-band music as I pick through administrative tasks on a laptop. I lay in a supply of candles and fill the oil lamps to facilitate nighttime reading out of doors. I move houseplants from their winter spaces to sunny patches outside. Even my knitting bag finds its way to the deck where I knit lacy items and small projects that won’t cling stickily to my fingers in the heat rather than the Icelandic sweaters that I favor in colder months.

Dinners are cooked over the grill and eaten on the patio even when there are only a couple of us present to enjoy the meal. The house is filled with fresh flowers from the yard. Neighbors I haven’t seen since before the first snowfall last season stop by to chat when they spot me weeding the front gardens. I hike up a hill each morning with my son instead of watching foreign crime shows while using my treadmill.

This year I even purchased a mobile version of the Dragon Dictation software in order to move my writing life outside. My eighth Beryl and Edwina novel is due on September 1, but I don’t want to miss a moment of this deliriously delicious season shut away in my office. After all, despite the fact that there are four seasons here, summer always seems to be the most fleeting.

Readers, do you have four seasons in your part of the world? If not, do you wish that you did? What do you do differently in the summer than in the colder months?

25 Thoughts

  1. We have the 4 seasons but lately it seems more like 2 hot and cold. Almost summer and this morning briefly it is 47 degrees such crazy temps.

  2. Yes, we have four seasons but sometimes I think the universe wants to add a fifth season. I’m more likely to hibernate in the colder months.

  3. Absolutely love this post! Rituals ground me. I end up moving around my writing space on a seasonal basis, be it winter in the second floor library or summer in the sunroom. I love the early morning quiet, before anyone else is awake. My morning pages usually happen first thing over tea and it frees my mind for deeper thought. Retirement has created a whole new set of rituals and routines and I’m enjoying the exploration. Thanks for these thoughts this still, late spring morning in the country.

  4. Although we have all seasons, some seem to be way shorter than others. Why does it never fail that the shortest seems to be the one we love so much? Mine is spring. It’s when you can do all the things you mentioned without either freezing or melting. it’s a time of rebirth and another chance. The critters are pairing up and having babies. The plants and trees that have laid dormant for months pop to life with leaves and budding flowers. It’s when we can finally sit on our porch without bundling up to read, have talks with hubby or enjoy the wide array of daily critter visitors we have. The critters some to bath or drink from the birdbaths, eat from the feeders with their new spring coloring and just generally put on a show for us while we rest from all the chores that need to be done. Although we grill and smoke meats all year, the frequency definitely increases come spring. However, spring is fleeting it seems and the high temperatures and humidity of summer soon take it’s place. Summer also has it’s advantages like veggies and fresh fruit out of the garden, but having to do the fun things while sprayed with bug spray, sunscreen on and sweat dripping down you back and beading on your face just takes a bit away from all the great things of spring.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  5. We have four seasons and I love three of them. Winter is just good for hibernating. The rest of the year I’m out working the yard as much as possible. Even tho’ I can’t do everything myself anymore, I get out and do what I can. And I just bought a fabulous Twin Oaks Hammock for our covered patio.

  6. One thing I do, ritualistically, is switch out the decor inside our house with every season. I do it for myself. I don’t think anyone notices or cares. But conversely, I’ve done it for so long, I think if I didn’t the family might think there was something wrong.

  7. This is wonderful, and thanks for the heads up on the demise of the black flies. Ours hatched last weekend when the temps finally topped 50 all day. I’m hopeful the dragonflies will be victorious by the Fourth of July.

    I’m in Maine so we do have four seasons. Winter months are spent indoors unless the snow is conducive to snow shoeing. Spring, summer, and fall, find me in the woods at least part of every day. Love recording photos of the changing seasons. Wish I could dictate stories. Did it take you long to learn? I sometimes take a notebook or laptop on my hikes, but it’s cumbersome.

    1. I would encourage you to give dictation a try, Kait! It is different than typing, but not more difficult to learn. I started out using it for email and non-fiction like blog posts and newsletters before trying my hand at fiction. Now, it is part of my process!

  8. We definitely have four seasons. A lot of our changes are like yours, Jessie. Evening reading is done in the sunroom. Meals on the grill, eating in the sunroom. Even on days like today when it’s raining!

    Our front porch faces almost due west, so it’s a good place to have morning coffee, but you roast in the afternoon.

  9. Despite what people will say, we have four seasons in Southern California:
    1. Hot
    2. Santa Anna Wind and Fire
    3. Coolish with a slight chance of rain. Maybe. (Of course, we got TONS or rain this year)
    4. Warming up again

    Sadly, we seem to be stuck in Coolish this year. We have a strong cloud cover, more than our usual June gloom, and I hate it. I’m ready for temps to at least hit the 70’s during the day.

    When it gets too hot, I will go back to running after work instead of at lunch time (advantage of working from home). I’ll swim more, too, when it warms up.

  10. Your changes sound delightful! The biggest change for me is the 1-2 hours in the gardens as soon as plants start to sprout in the late winter. Soooo…the writing time shifts to a different time of day as well.

  11. Listening to Big Band music and drinking espresso? This four season loving Michigander wishes you were my neighbor!!!!! I’d bring the fresh home made pastry’s. I recommend a local BB called Planet D and if you like boogie woogie I’d recommend a slide pianist named Bob Seeley. His Bumble Boogie is the Fllight of te Bumble Bee played boogie woogie style. Health Warning: Do not try to run or work out to this music. LOL. The seasons change means I work in my garden and read out side while trying to catch some rays. In the winter it’s winter sports and shoveling snow, but we don’t get a lot anymore.

  12. We do have the four seasons. I love to have the windows and doors open. I love to have the natural light as well as to be able to watch nature. Thank you so much for sharng. God bless you.

  13. We do have seasons here in the foothills of the mountains in Georgia. I think that the only thing that I do differently in winter than in summer, is to stay indoors more in the winter. Though I also like to open the windows and get some fresh air in the house. I decorate more in the winter because I put up outdoor decorations and a tree in the house. I do decorate all year long outside with flags, wreaths, and mailbox covers but more so at Halloween (not so much anymore) and Christmas.

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