Surviving the Seasons
Is the weather getting you down? Yeah? Me too. Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn. The annual circle of life can be a little tiresome at times, can't it? Winter gets too cold, summer gets too hot, fall gets too wet, and spring gets too short. In Michigan, these situations can mesh together way too easily, so maintaining sanity can be difficult. But never fear; I've come up with a few ways for dealing with each of the seasons as they come and go. These survival methods vary from clothes to food to daily activities, as there's plenty to do for each season to entertain and stay calm. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate), here's how to survive the ongoing war against Mother Nature.
A lot of people that I've talked to really like winter during the month of December, mostly due to the Christmas holidays. And honestly, I'm with those folks. When the snow starts to stick and the holiday decorations are up and running, it just paints a picture of beauty. It's something that I never get tired of. However, when New Year's Eve comes and goes, the snow starts to get brown, mushy, and annoying, and most of us are ready for the snow to melt and spring to come.
But hey, that doesn't mean we can't have fun while it lasts. Remember that holiday special where Frosty the Snowman sings “Let there be snow; this kind of weather brings people together so friendships can grow”? Yes, people, there's some truth to that song. Sledding down the hill is always fun — particularly with friends and family. I'm also told that building a snowman is an enjoyable winter activity, though it's not something I've participated in over the last few years. Skiing and snowboarding also look like a ton of fun to do—dangerous, but still fun. Or, if you think it might be too cold to play outside, then stay inside and read a book. Watch a movie. Build a fire in the fireplace, snuggle up in a blanket or two, and enjoy the warmth. Work with a jigsaw puzzle. Make cookies — especially around winter, they're particularly good.
'Tis also the season for gifts, advertisements, and discounts, so add warm clothing and blankets to your Christmas list. Ideally, you'd want several pairs of wool socks, fuzzy sweaters, insulated pants, thick mittens, a thick coat, and sturdy, durable boots that make for excellent walking expeditions.
As for food, warmth is the key. Again, cookies are a delicious delicacy — any kind, really, as long as they don't also make for food poisoning. You also have a variety of warm drinks to choose from, such as hot chocolate, chai, coffee, and tea, all of which come with different condiments and flavors. Various assortments of soup are also easily enjoyed during this time of year, so have fun with that.
When the snow is away, the flowers come out to play and so do we. I find this season really fascinating because instead of enjoying it, most people I know use it to prepare for summer. They shop for swimsuits, soak up the sun, burn their skin in time for June, and start planning what they're going to do for the Fourth of July.
To be honest, I don't think it's really fair because there's a lot about this season that we don't appreciate enough. This is the ideal time of year to take pictures, clean the house (they don't call it spring cleaning for nothing, you know), or maybe even propose to your girlfriend. I call it a slow transition from winter to summer. You don't want to start wearing shorts right after the snow melts (trust me; I've tried). Instead, get reacquainted with the warmth. Start wearing thinner sweaters before leaving them at home. Wear the pants for an extra week or two before transitioning to Capri pants, and start wearing shorts only when you deem it warm enough to do so.
It's the same rule of thumb I'd apply to food. Stick to the warmer foods for a little while longer before transitioning yourself to something that could freeze your tongue. Also, as spring is the season that makes the earth bearably warm, this is where you'd want to do any outdoor shenanigans you might have planned. Take a walk. Roll around in the grass. Find an outdoor museum.
I despise this season with a passion. What really gets me down about summer is the blazing heat. Even in 80 degree weather, all I want to do is stay inside, sit in front of the fan/air conditioner, and freeze until summer decides to go away. Granted, sunny days at the beach are always fun—that is, as long as I can go into the water. But I don't like to do that alone, and when I go to the beach with my family, no one usually wants to go into the water.
My recommendation for activities in the heat: Water, water, water, water, water. Go to the pool—indoor or outdoor, I don't care. Go to the beach, and go with people who love going into the water as much as you do. Drink a lot of water too; this is the worst season to be dehydrated (been there, done that). Take baths, if you can. Invasion of ultraviolet rays aside, there are a lot of other activities I can recommend for summer. Camping under the stars comes highly recommended. Nothing says summer fun better than staying up late, sitting by the campfire, roasting marshmallows and campfire pies, and telling ghost stories.
If you want to survive, get your swimsuit out and ready to use ASAP—trust me, you're going to want it. Additionally, this is where tank tops and shorts come in handy. Not only do they look good, but they also give your sweat glands some breathing room. Have one pair of pants and one sweatshirt handy for camping trips because—oddly enough—it still gets cool enough at night to wear one of those.
This is where you want to take advantage of anything cold and edible. Again, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Ice cream is also a popular option to take advantage of. Soda, smoothies, and popsicles too, if you're able. Strawberry lemonade is a drink that I'd recommend for any occasion. I read somewhere that chilled cucumber soup is also delicious in warm weather, but maybe that's just Lemony Snicket talking.
If spring is a transition from winter to summer, than autumn is a transition from summer to winter. I love this season; it's still warm enough to play outside, but it gets cooler enough to wear t-shirts and jeans as time goes by. You can play in the leaves, wear costumes, and get candy for it, and—of course—stuff yourself senseless with some of the best food you will ever eat on Thanksgiving. The same rules of transition for spring apply here, except that you want to transition from cold food to warm food, and you definitely don't want to wear shorts in November. As for Thanksgiving, I'd recommend a little thing called Thanksgiving pants. What are they? As demonstrated in the photo below, they are maternity pants used for allowing the food to settle in your stomach.