Do you have a favorite season? I have a hard time choosing one. I think that’s why I wanted to move back to Montana after having been away my entire adult life. I’ve lived in places where maybe two seasons all year were stretched out across months and months. Boring. I’m not even a fan of perpetual summer, although I definitely like Summer. It’s just that I also like when it ends. One of the best things about Montana is being immersed in every season. Deep snowy winters spent snowshoeing and hibernating under cozy blankets while fat, fluffy snowflakes drift past the windows. The beauty of everything waking up in springtime- watching vibrant green unfurl and hearing chattering birds again after months of white and quiet and stillness. And, of course, our best-kept secret: summers that are truly glorious. Sunny and clear skies (until fire season hits, anyway) that just don’t quit. Entire days spent at clear, cold lakes, typically without another soul around for miles and miles.
But then. There’s Fall. More specifically: Fall in Missoula. I’ve never been to Vermont, but I’ve been told that Missoula leaves truly rival those of Vermont. I don’t know about that. I just know that walking is my most-est favorite-est October activity in Missoula. Whether I’m walking along a quiet trail all alone (well, except for happy dogs crashing through noisy leaves) or lollygagging down city sidewalks completely blanketed and canopied in the most vibrant colors imaginable… I’m just plain joyful when Fall hits. The air smells clean and cool and crisp and on days when I feel like escaping the chill, I can spend whole afternoons in a coffee shop keeping warm, plowing through my to-do list like a squirrel preparing for the coming winter.
Recently I realized that I feel this way with each transition into a new season. It’s not just one season in particular, or even the transition into each that I really love. It’s that I’ve finally learned to appreciate what’s right in front of me. I used to be such a planner. More Type A than not. It was hard to be fully present when I was mostly focused on worrying about, and planning for, the future. I still like to be organized. But I also live in the present more than ever. Less multi-tasking. Less wistfulness for a different future. More presence. More feeling happy with whatever’s right in front of me.
So yeah, I’ll also be in love with Winter soon, then Spring, and then Summer. But it’s not fickle-ness. It’s a pre-existing appreciation for whatever’s coming, a certain satisfaction with whatever season I’m in. I finally feel like a grown-up in some ways- present in my own life and relationships in a way I hadn’t been before. Happy. Content- with winters, summers, and all the days in between them.
Every season is my favorite time. Because I’ve finally learned that joyfulness lies in simply being with what is, not wrestling with what might be. So, bring your best, Fall. You know, until Winter arrives.