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Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

As we have swung into August, it comes to mind that we are well over halfway through 2016. I am not sure how that happened, but somehow the math is correct.

Prior to the birth of my daughter, I had little way to mark time, as the seasons do not vary widely enough here in Singapore to provide a proper demarcation.  Husband and I often ask each other questions like “when was it that we bought the motorcycle?” “do you remember when we last had a gardener out?” Cues such as what we were wearing (i.e. winter or summer clothes) or the falling of the leaves for fall are often absent. Christmas is noted not by winter’s snow and ice but by the Christmas music being played at Cold Storage during the daily shop. (Trust me, you can’t miss children singing Deck the Halls in Mandarin on repeat for 3 months.)

But now I seem to have the opposite problem, my time is all too well marked. Each month is a daunting reminder of time passing as she grows at the rate of a weed with a new skill set practically each day to match.

Eight months ago, on New Years Eve, we left the child with the nanny to go for a few adult beverages with friends at a nearby bar restaurant that also had a DJ and a countdown. After a few months in “home mode,” I was surprised at how familiar being out among adults and drinks felt. I had somehow wrongly expected it to seem foreign.

On the way to celebrate, the topic of new years resolutions came up. One friend suggested that instead of resolutions, we come up with a word of the year. This was half in jest, as his cousin had posted her word of the year on Facebook, and he struggled to understand the concept.

So we all picked our word. My husband choosing the word “fatherhood,” as I threw out the word “unapologetic.” Everyone laughed. It didn’t sound very nice, I admit. And of course I’m known at times to be blunt, opinionated and stubborn.

But are these such bad traits? We live in a world that tells us ladies to “be nice” and everywhere we look there are conscious and subconscious cues telling us to behave, to not get out of line. Out of what line? The one that pays us women 75 cents to the dollar and offers them little choice in the workforce once they become mothers? The one that sentences a rapist to a mere 6 months of jail time as not to disrupt his life? The one that walks into a gay club and kills 50 people? This is not the world I want for myself, for my daughter, for your daughters.

My choices may be unconventional, but they are not wrong or ill informed and I will not apologize for them.

Let’s be honest – the metaphorical “they” wouldn’t be happy with our choices, in any form. We are told to “be ourselves” and then given a whole list of reasons on why that’s not good enough. Too fat, too focused on appearance, too driven, too lazy, too assertive, too shy, too materially focused, not financially savvy.

Life is a work in progress and my heart is free. I was reminded of this as I ran across this quote on the internet –

unapologetic

Unapologetic.

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I always thought December was winter. White Christmases, pine trees, cold weather. If I would have thought about it, I might have logically matched up the changing seasons with the appointed dates and realized that winter doesn’t start until late December (December 22nd this year to be exact.) Or maybe I would have noticed the bright colored leaves crunching under my bike wheels and feet and known that it was autumn. In Texas, you can’t expect to align with the rest of the world’s ideas of a proper calendar so you just don’t try.

This is all part of the experience of living my first autumn/winter. It’s cold, y’all. And not in a “Oh I can’t go outside” kind of way. Just in a “It’s annoying to go outside” kind of way. The sun is scheduled to set at 3:50 pm. 3:50 PM! That’s still considered afternoon! Google kindly reminds me that is only 3 hours and 50 minutes from when I’m typing this and that sends a sense of panic up my spine. I can’t function under these ridiculous time constraints.

At work I get confused. I don’t know whether to answer the phone “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good evening.” I find myself jumbling them up, saying good evening in the afternoon and good afternoon in the morning. I catch myself midway through the greeting and what comes out sounds more like “good moraghdernoon,” to which the client replies “Uh…. hello?”

Please excuse me while I adjust to the existence of seasons.

We’ve installed special lightbulbs in our house to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. I hope they start working soon.

The sun doesn’t seem to be travelling through the sky. It’s advising me to do the same, to stay close to home where things are safe. The low light filtered through the orange brown leaves and a foggy urban haze cause the entire cityscape to take on a dusky glow. Beautiful? Yes, but something else I can’t place my finger on too.

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This is the time of the year when the Texas Highway Department forgoes all mowing and the roadsides become covered with fields of bluebonnets. The long car rides between Texas cities don’t seem so dreary anymore. You have more to look forward to than a kolache at the Czech Stop in the small town of West.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons you see cars of couples, families and friends with their children and dogs pull over to the highway shoulder and begin snapping away with their camera. Everyone who grew up in Texas has pictures of themselves in a field of bluebonnets somewhere. If they say they don’t, they are lying. Or maybe an orphan.

I remember the year it rained continuously and the next spring was a shocking blast of early blue blooms. Standing in front of the sea of blue, sunshine warm, weather still cool enough, it’s hard to think of things that could make you happier. Probably because it’s hard to think of anything else at all.

It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The short but gruff winter is over and there is a promise of halcyon outdoor days  before the brutal summer turns water side activity into a necessity. Winter and the corresponding Seasonal Affective Disorder is now so far away. All things are right again in Texas.

 

Texas summer survival.

“My fervent hope is that our homes, roadsides, parks – both community and industrial – and public spaces will provide a home for our wildflowers and other native plants where they can provide economic benefits and add to the eye and spirit of their beholders.” – Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson, picture not mine.

That’s former first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson. She’s a Texas hero of mine. I image if there was an afterlife that her and former Texas governor Ann Richards would be hanging out swapping stories of Texas politics and having a damn good time.

 

The incredible Ann Richards. Picture also not mine.

Lady Bird was responsible for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It’s intent was to control outdoor advertising and junk on the side of the road. It was met with a lot of opposition. Today Texas roadsides are obviously a compromise but it is a sight when the bluebonnets come out.

I was bummed when I realized I was going to miss out on the wildflowers this year. This was before I knew about the daffodils. I was walking through Green Park one day and all of a sudden they were there. Little yellow buds telling me  winter was nearly over. Now the daffodils are everywhere. People stop in the park to have their photos taken with their friends, families, children and dogs.

 

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit A

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit B

It’s even more stunning when nobody warns you that they are coming, they just appear. It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The long and gray winter with it’s cabin fever, roast dinners and endless cup of teas is coming to an end. There is a promise of a short but halcyon summer surrounded by a cool fall and spring. All things are right again in London.

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