In recent decades, Americans have become a summery people, migrating in historic numbers away from cold, snowy, grey-skied places to more “temperate” climes.
Set aside for a moment the fact that “temperate” usually means beastly, feverishly, shirt-clingingly hot much of the year. (I admit it: really hot weather makes me cranky.)
And places that are truly “perfect” are generally crowded, or getting crowded (I admit it: crowds in large doses make me even crankier.
But the real reason I can’t join the flock heading south is seasons. I know it’s sort of trite, but I love the changing year. I love the way the world I live in becomes, in very real ways, a different world every three or four months.
In geek terms, I get to spend part of each year on Endor and part of it on Naboo. (Go here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)
But my absolute favorite time (or times) of year is fugue season. These are the funky weeks when I swim in a lake and ski to toll road at Whiteface.
Or when — as we did last week — we’re still gleaning fresh vegetables out of the garden, and I’m scrabbling over ice on Ampersand Mountain.
This physical embodiment of change and time passing captures the weird scales at which our world works.
We are blessed to exist in a cosmos that functions in geological time, but also in bursts of immediacy.
I lived for a time in a cabin on the Copper River in Alaska and I remember listening to the ice break-up in spring — it was like artillery fire after the silent expanse of winter.
The truth, of course, is that it’s always fugue season. We humans are — both individually and collectively — a very small organism living on a planet that is changing all the time, in ways that we influence and ways that we don’t.
Usually, those tiny, cumulative evolutions are lost to us at our Mayfly scale of blink-and-you-miss-it consciousness.
But for those of us who live in the North Country, those big changes are visible, at least symbolically, week-by-week. I mean, a few days ago, I woke up and suddenly I was living on Hoth.
How cool is that?