Because our lives are so fast-paced, I have made it a point over the years to enjoy the change in seasons. Part of this observance comes from the fact that I completed my undergraduate degree at Sewanee, where the weather played a major role in our experience as students at the university, which was both good and bad.
There are days that stand out as some of my happiest memories on campus -- when my friends and I would gather at Lake Cheston in late spring or summer and spend the day sitting on towels, swimming and talking. Those were times of relaxation, happiness and friendship. There were other days when I would spend the afternoon reading a book in Abbo's Alley, a beautiful stretch of landscape with a pond and hiking trails. I cherished these moments of solitude where I was at peace with myself and the world.
Of course, there were also days in January and February when my fellow students and I rejoiced if the temperature reached 30 F, and we could not remember the last time we saw the sun. And, I was afraid to walk to class because of all the ice on the ground.
But even these winter experiences contained a certain happiness as well. There were times when I looked forward to nothing more than drinking a latte, wearing warm clothes and curling up on my bed to watch a movie while listening to the sound of my heater.
I love how each season brings with it a certain set of memories. September fetches recollections of new school supplies and new beginnings. Because of this, I almost consider September the new year, instead of January. Winter, and the first falling of snow, bring back peaceful memories of "snow days" and the fun of running outside and building a snowman.
Recently, due to area storms, it seems as if fall has arrived more quickly. I was expecting August to be characteristically hot, but the absolute lack of rain was troubling until we were hit with a deluge that suddenly brought cooler weather. So, without warning, fall is here. Of course, we might have more 80-plus degree days, but the air now has a crispness to it.
It does not matter if you consider yourself a fan of summer and hate the cold or cannot wait for freezing temperatures. To me, no matter what excuses we make or how busy we are, it is important to spend some time outside. For example, I am writing this article as I sit in my backyard.
Spending time in nature -- whether reading outside in the afternoon, taking a short walk, or going on an extensive camping trip -- will help us create and stimulate memories and better appreciate the backdrop of our lives.
Email Corin Harpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.