Why does winter seem to pass soooo sloooowwwwwly, while summer goesbysofast?
From June through September is four months. So is December through March. But that equality of time means nothing when you get the feeling that – Yikes! Here it is September, and I’m not done with June! Or – Here it is March, and it seems like two years since Christmas.
Why? This is a question I ponder when I’m in pondering mode. I think I have the answer: Environmental monotony.
The winter months present a long stretch of tedious sameness in the natural world.
The opposite months, on the contrary, present so much variety it’s almost hard to keep up. By June, you’ve heard spring peepers, the redwing blackbirds then all the other summer birds are back, you see some species because they’re only passing through but some of them stay, then the males start singing at dawn, and pairs nest, and soon you see baby birds, and by the time the last birds nest (the goldfinches) some of the other babies are already grown and getting ready to fly south.
Or the violets have bloomed, and the dandelions, then the daisies, then the lupines pop out, then the day lilies, and when they fade the goldenrod takes over, with the asters, and amidst all that blooming and fading, dozens of other wildflowers bloom briefly and fade and make way for dozens of others that bloom and fade.
If you watch the natural world from June through September, you notice that every week is just a bit different from the week before. Always a new adventure. No wonder it goes by so fast!
By contrast, here’s what happens in the natural world from December through March: Nothing. Not totally nothing, but most of what happens is invisible to the human watcher. It takes place in the ground or under the snow or inside the trees. The earth keeps revolving, so the light changes a tiny bit at a time, but that’s not a whole lot to watch when you look out your window.
By the end of November, a perceptual gray sameness settles in. Maybe we’ll have a snow storm. Maybe we’ll have an ice storm. That’s winter’s idea of variety.
That’s why winter seems to move so slowly: nature monotony.
I am not a person to ponder a situation without pondering a solution. My solution: colored snow. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if snow fell in colors, and we never knew which color we were going to get?
I can picture pink snow and magenta snow and aqua snow and emerald snow and lime snow and pumpkin-colored snow and golden snow. We would have layers of color. Paths made by snow blowers would be bordered by snow heaps with many-colored horizontal stripes, like the rock layers in Grand Canyon. Children could make families of snow people, each a different color.
We would no longer engage in New Englanders’ most popular storm-related activity with its negative mood; that is, talking about how bad a storm will be, how bad it is, and how bad it was. Instead, we could happily speculate on what color we will enjoy, and note how that color complements those that came before. The winter months would be as interesting as summer, and no months would drag.
Of course I know that this is a silly idea. But when a person is in pondering mode, silly is not a problem. All things are possible. And how pleasant it will be to ponder multicolored snow during those long gray winter months. At least it will relieve the monotony.
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