Living here in Edmonton, we have pretty much four distinct seasons. Some will say we have two: winter and June, but I like to think we have four full ones. As a child, living not far from here in St. Albert, winter was in some ways my favorite season. Winter had Christmas, winter had sledding and skating, cross-country skiing, snowball fights, and my elementary school had so many fun little festivals, from a penny carnival (I wonder if now they have a nickel or dime carnival) to a book fair where all the classes in junior high and elementary would compete to see who could collect the most books for the sale which raised funds for student programs.
Of course, after winter comes spring – glorious spring. It always fills my heart with a new kind of joy that somehow I have lived through another winter and am able to see the green of the trees and grass and the many colors of flowers in gardens that line the streets.
Soon spring gets warmer and warmer and then summer is here. Summer to me has it’s fun side, but sometimes when it gets too hot I lie in bed late into the night unable to sleep, and I think about the coolness of winter once again. This year I spent just about all of August in Toronto, which has a much longer (and much more humid) summer, so there was a big difference when I returned to more of a fall climate than I had expected. It was a nice bonus to have cool days again, even though my sister had an air conditioner. Not to mention that there really is no place like home, no friends like the ones you choose to live beside, and no better place to sleep than your own bed.
Fall has always had a special place in my heart. It’s like when you are munching on popcorn and have just a few delicious kernels left and you savour them more than any of the others, or when you wake up an hour earlier than you have to for work and that extra hour of sleep is so deliciously satisfying. Fall is the last of the warm days, the last of the great outdoor days, and it is always the most beautiful, even more so than spring in my mind. The River Valley turns so many shades of red and yellow, the gutters fill up with leaves that dry and crunch under your feet. As a kid we would always take a car trip to Drayton Valley in the fall and marvel at the beauty of the changing colors.
In my day, I have been to the Hawaiian Islands more than once, and I have to admit it is kind of nice to be in a place that is hot and sunny all the time. But how boring would that get if you lived in a place like that all year round, really? What use is a warm spring when you never had a cold winter to make you appreciate it? What glory would there be in trees being green all year round? I would miss the falling leaves so much! And, of course, I would miss the wonderful people that live here, people who understand that the worth of a place is only how much you pay for it, and people that know the value of being a good neighbour and friend. I may go back to the tropics now and then, do a little swimming, sun tan on the beach for a while, but I think I will always return here to Edmonton where I have always felt safe and welcome.