Sunday, December 20, 2020

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Seasonal changes in weather and scenery are lovely advantages for living in the Midwest, believes this native Peorian. Sure there’s summer humidity and February dreariness, not to mention running air conditioning one day and the furnace two days later. Such unpredictability is part of life’s lessons, and in Central Illinois, we experience glory and frustrations. We’ve learned acceptance, ways of adapting, how to handle disappointment when a snowstorm cancels plans, and creative ways of reinventing a swimming party when the temperatures nosedive even in July.

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Ask nearly any resident on a glorious spring day the best place to live, and votes are countless for this country. When the trees change colors in October and every day is like visiting an art gallery of colors and designs, it’s unanimous we’re living the life. Even for those not favoring winter’s white stuff, the beauty and peacefulness of freshly fallen snow is difficult to dislike. Yes, it’s more appealing in December than late winter, but watching a child or frisky puppy playing in snow captures the wonder and pleasure we sometimes overlook.

It’s my personal belief that people should complain only in one season, and for me, that season is winter. Those other times I try my best to pay compliments to Mother Nature.  Cold is tolerable, but I find the darkness and lack of color difficult to cope with during the long winter months. Ice isn’t a favorite either, but constant talk about winter weather adds to the woes. The less said, the better, as I mentally recall and rejoice in the beauty of spring.

The calendar tells us now that summer is preparing to say Adieu! My immediate thoughts are of regret, although September and October are lovely months, full of coolness and color and continued opportunities to enjoy the outside. Frank Sinatra reminded us, in his September Song and on his way to turning 50 in December of 1965, that “it’s a long, long while from May to December” and “the days grow short when you reach September.” He knew he didn’t have time for the waiting game, but really none of us do; we just haven’t come to terms with that reality.

In September Of My Years, Mr. Sinatra crooned, “One day you turn around, and it’s summer, next day you turn around, and it’s fall, and the springs and the winters of a lifetime, whatever happened to them all?”  I still have that album, a Christmas gift from decades ago. His nostalgia was remarkable, given he was a mere 50. When I first heard those songs, I truly considered him “older.” I was too young to realize his youthfulness.

Now I’m old enough to marvel at and lament the speed of time. Seems like friends and I were just celebrating the added daylight, and now we’re seeing darkness earlier each evening. Temperatures will fall, gardens will be put to rest, and chili and soups will be simmering for dinner. Granted, there’s still time for picnics and outdoor fun, but waiting for more convenient tomorrows to enjoy them isn’t wise.

So it is with life. Best not to play the waiting game. Sometimes we miss out on wonderful opportunities because we misjudge how short the days reach September and beyond.




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