Author’s Note: After nearly a decade on the east coast, it’s time for Mr. & Mrs. Link to head West. In the last ten years, our lives have changed significantly. We moved in together, got married, bought a house, got promotions at work and earned higher education degrees, hiked, drank, ran, ate and welcomed our son to the world. For a gal from Southern California and a guy from Montana, Maryland took some getting used to – the pollen, bugs, humidity, and distance from home made the change all the more difficult. But as time passed, we began to grudgingly put down roots. We even began to feel at home in our adopted land. What follows is Mr. Link’s favorite (and least favorite) parts about living in Maryland. Other posts here.
Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Maryland
Number 6 – Seasons
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
- George Santayana
My love for seasons is philosophical. Unlike weather, seasons are tied intrinsically to the passage of time. Without seasons, the most observable unit of time is a day. But 23 hour 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds is sliver of time. It provides no space for reflection, so time passes essentially unnoticed they way distance would be lost if you only stared straight down at your feet. Days run into weeks and years that become drumbeats in a routine march toward oblivion.
Seasons mark a longer beat. They offer perspective of the passage of time. They actually remind you that time is passing, like the mountains on the horizon getting closer and falling behind. I think one of the worst banalities of adulthood is the risk of monotony. As long as you are in school, seasons don’t matter as much because time is marked by the passage of a school year. But once you enter the real world, there is no more summer vacation to mark the passage of time. You forget. Time speeds up.
But Seasons do more than mark the passage of time. They also provide spice (there’s a reason it’s called seasoning). As they advance through their annual choreographed improvisational dance like a celestial Who’s Line Is It Anyway, each season has it’s bitter and it’s sweet. And each flavor plays off the others to make the whole year better. The long days of summer are all the sweeter because they contrast with the short days of winter. The crisp autumn wind is refreshing after the sticky summer heat.
I grew up with Montana’s four famous seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and Construction. My blood was thick. We do crazy things like wearing shorts to school in in freezing weather and frosting. Then, I moved to Southern California where there are two sort-of-seasons – wet and dry. My blood thinned and before I was done, I was shivering in weather below 70. I know… I’m not proud of it. While I always had school years to mark time in SoCal, the years slipped by quickly. I can’t help but think that one of the reasons Southern California living is so much more laid back than it is on the East Coast is that the absence of seasons reduces the sense of urgency.
Maryland has four distinct seasons. That’s not to say you ever knew what to expect – this year, for example, we had virtually no snow at all. Compare that with 2010 when we had multiple blizzards and ice storms. But as a rule, each season had it’s pluses and minuses. Each minus was complemented by another seasons plus.
The Good – Fondue dinners; snow sports like sledding and skiing (although Mrs. Link is still learning, she got very good at skiing); Christmas somewhere warm (usually); fires in the fireplace; big snow storms; grilling on the deck.
The Bad – Short days (going to work in the dark and not getting home until after dark); outdoor activities are harder to pull off; feels long, you can get a little stir-crazy.
The Good – Trees bloom beautifully; fresh, bright colors; still too early for insects; perfect temperatures; perfect weather for running outside; grilling on the deck.
The Bad – Pollen (resulting in some of the worst hay fever in the world); rain because something has to help everything turn green; short (I swear there were years where the time between bitter cold and sticky hot was 1 or 2 weeks).
The Good – Hiking; camping; tubing; travel; fireworks; August recess (means big hikes, summits, camping trips) weekends are easy to fill; grilling on the deck.
The Bad – Hot; humid; tons of big, ugly bugs (Mrs. Link and I referred to some of the hatches as plagues); too hot to run outside.
The Good – Leaves turn; Thanksgiving; Renaissance Fair; perfect temperature for running; elections; grilling on the deck.
The Bad – Not warm enough to keep doing all those summer things without special gear; elections; long – (when’s it going to snow already?)
I’ll miss seasons.