Growing up in California you miss out on a few things. Snow days, dogwood trees, summer rainstorms, lightning bugs. And the changing of seasons. Sure, December tends to be a few degrees colder than June, and it generally rains in the "winter" months, but you never get that pull of the season really changing like you do in other climates.
I need seasons. Mentally, emotionally, even spiritually. I need the tangible example to throw in the face of the "you're always going to feel this way" melancholy moods when they hang on me like wet jeans. I think that before I moved away from the West Coast I was stuck in a sort of limbo, like in the Mid-West and East when it's not quite cold enough for your favorite sweater yet but all of the color is gone from the trees. Sure, the occasional sunny day would hit, but for the most part the weather was of no help when it came to wrestling with depression.
The first winter I lived in Detroit was the worst they had had in 15 years. We got our first blizzard on October 8 (16 inches that stuck around), the last one in April, and nothing but cold and dreary in between. We were living in a basement, so the lack of light did a number on me. I cried a lot for no particular reason. But I will never forget the first sprig of color I saw on a rare clear patch of ground around early May. It was green with a tiny crown of purple petals. It almost hurt my eyes it was so magical and bright against the sludgy snow. I sobbed like I had found a long lost sibling. That was a great moment, even worth what it took to make it happen. How else could I be so effected by a blade of grass? ("...not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these")
In Detroit I discovered the joys of geraniums. Very hearty (so I almost cannot kill them) and cheerful through many temperature changes. Today they just looked so beautiful to me, perched in their pots as autumn was whispering her arrival. The change of light, the slight drop in temperature. Remembering that soon the trees will be glowing with reds and oranges and yellows that don't exist anywhere else in the world. A little nudge out of my "mood". Deep breath. Forced smile that sticks a little longer than the last one. I think I need to bake a pie.