Newsflash to anyone living near the 43rd parallel: it’s still fall. The leaves may be long gone, and it may have snowed a few times this month, but it’s fall, dammit! We just celebrated the quintessentially ‘fall’ holiday four days ago—you know, the one where we celebrate thankfulness and bounty and harvest? We eat pumpkin pie, applesauce, mashed potatoes, watch the Lions lose, and rake a few leaves. Fall stuff!
I am what you might call a ‘season purist.’ Not for any good reason, except perhaps the nobly futile pursuit of appreciating each month for what it is. It irks me when I see people turning the corner on winter before it’s due, and I feel the same way about spring, summer, and fall. When everyone else is bemoaning the late-March snowstorms, I’m the one tromping from slush patch to slush patch in cross-country skis. When everybody starts drinking pumpkin beers around Labor Day, I scowl and crack the top to my 5,000th Oberon of the summer and pretend I’m not sick of it yet.
But that fall-to-winter transition always gets under my skin the most.
It goes without saying that I’m one of those Grinches who doesn’t listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. In fact, Christmas music before December 1 still kind of rubs me the wrong way. Municipalities hang up snowflake banners the week after Halloween, often before the autumn colors have even peaked. Even with snow in the frame, I caption all my November Instagram photos with “one last fall ride!” and “enjoying the beautiful late-fall weather!” TV commercials, radio, storefronts, and front yards all turn Christmasy with two months to go, and I can’t stand it.
I try to be civil about it for the most part. I know who my biggest adversaries are—and I let them celebrate far away and in peace—but I’m still crestfallen when I meet a new acquaintance who has fallen under Santa’s spell. The day after Halloween, I visited a familiar warehouse for work. In the nine months that I’ve been visiting this business, never once has the production crew strayed from their lively mariachi playlist. And yet on November 1, everybody was singing along raucously to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and I couldn’t help but feel they were testing me.
People love Christmas and hate the back half of winter. Seasonal affective disorder is a very real thing in the cloudiest place in the country, where gray skies accompany lake effect snow and clammy wind-chilled temperatures for most of December through March. Perhaps this is a bit simplistic coming from someone who loves a thorough winter, but I think I have a suggestion that might alleviate some of that depression:
Don’t celebrate Christmas—and the un-detachable wintriness that comes with it—too early.
I’ll admit it’s more of a mindset than a meteorological observation, but if you’re a winter-hater, might it be better in the long run to hang on to fall as long as you can? Maybe you’ll feel a little more forgiving of those late season blizzards if you hadn’t been dreaming of a white Christmas since November 1. Just saying.
Anyway, this is just one man’s opinion, and an arbitrary one at that. ‘Purist’ might not even be the right word, because if you actually look up the official dates of when seasons start, it’s laughable:
First day of summer: June 21: Ha! Please, I’ve been in my swim trunks for almost a month straight at this point. Next.
First day of fall: September 23: Ehhh, that’s being pretty skimpy, Mother Nature, don’t you think? Let’s wind that back at least a week.
First day of winter: December 21: Four days before Christmas? Okay okay, that’s waiting wayyy too long. Even I’m not that Scrooge-like.
First day of spring: March 20: Not too shabby actually. I’ll cede that one.
Now I get that the ‘seasons’ are actually marked by equinoxes and solstices and whatnot; they’re different climatically for every area of the world, so the dates are rather meaningless anyway. But still, take a moment to enjoy these last few days of “fall.” There’s gotta be a pumpkin beer you haven’t tried out there, or a tree with stubborn leaves to look at, or—
What’s that? I’m grasping at straws, you say? Fair enough. But at least spare me the Christmas music for a few more days. Sing your carols and eat your pepernotens, just let me stare at this oak tree a little longer. I’ll join you all in December.
Nick Meekhof (’15) graduated with a major in writing and a minor in geography. A farmer for the first twenty-three years of his life, Nick currently works for the Michigan Department of Agriculture. When he’s not traversing the state conducting orchard inspections, he can be found exploring the rivers, forests, and small towns all throughout the Great Lakes State. His current goals include kayaking one hundred Michigan rivers, swimming in Lake Michigan during every month of the year, and visiting as many Michigan breweries as possible.