Savouring the Seasons

If the weatherperson’s report on the radio or TV is anything to go by, you’d think that the only days worth having are sunny and warm. They apologize when forecasting rain or snow, they rattle on excitedly when it’s going to be clear or unseasonably mild. You don’t have to look far to see that our society seems to consider Summer the best time of year and anything else is just something to be tolerated until it comes around again.

Now, I may have struggled most of my adult life to live in the present and take each day as a gift. But when it comes to the weather I have long been a fan of the four seasons. I honestly enjoy each one, and by the time one is over I am usually tired of it and looking forward to a change. 

Here in southwestern BC (known to our southern neighbours as the Pacific Northwest), winter is relatively mild. It is also very wet. A typical day between October and January is cool, dark with heavy low-lying clouds, and somewhere between about-to-rain, drizzling, and a total downpour that can last for days. For those who are not used to this weather (and for many who have been here for years) it can be hard to take. But I figure since I was born and raised here that might explain why I find it quite bearable and even enjoyable. 

I think alot of it has to do with the fact that I am free to stay indoors when the weather turns “cozy”, and I enjoy an excuse to tidy, organize, bake, and cook. There is something about our grey days that make me feel as though a giant down comforter is covering the city, and it’s time to stay in and be cozy. I love having our gas fireplace bringing a cheerful glow to the living room, and the smell of soup simmering on the stove. I love hot meals with winter vegetables and spicy accents. And while a sunny day is a treat to be savoured with a walk in the woods or a good long run, I also enjoy running in the rain and smelling the forest when it is damp. 

I have an indoor hydroponic system, the AeroGarden, that I used to grow herbs this past spring. I eventually planted them in a box and it’s been sitting empty ever since. A friend mentioned that I could grow salad greens and enjoy salad throughout the winter. And you know what? The idea just doesn’t appeal to me. After spending the spring and summer eating seasonally I came to feel that my body craves the foods that are available (for the most part; I’m enjoying a delicious mandarin orange as I write!). I learned that spring is salad season and we indulged in our home-grown greens several times a week throughout June and July. I’m not craving salads now. I’m wanting squash and chard and potatoes. I’m wanting braised chicken with onions and dried fruits, pork sausages with beans and stewed tomatoes, and hearty soups like borscht and butternut squash bisque. 

And it seemed to me that eating seasonally is just one more aspect of savouring the seasons and enjoying them for what each one brings. So here’s to fall and the approaching winter (skiing, skating, and knitted hats, oh my!). May we see the goodness in each part of Nature’s cycle, and thank the weatherperson for every forecast!


6 responses to this post.

  1. Oh you are SO right. I start to look forward to fall and winter in late August… mostly because I grew up in the far north so by then I’m thinking “I think I’ve had enough summer now.” I love sweaters and other fuzzy warm clothes and the fire and all the rest of it.

    Here on the island though, there is a veggie farm that produces year-round and they have a salad mix that is perfect for winter. It’s full of really strong, chewy, spicy greens – not bitter, just extremely flavourful. There’s arugula, some mustardy thing, and some wacky stuff that I have no idea what it is, but it’s red on one side, green on the other, the leaves are huge, and it tastes like wasabi. Anyway, these salads really get your blood warmed up and for the last two winters I’ve been chowing down on them and I NEVER ate salad in the winter before. So, check around, maybe someone in your area is growing something similar?


  2. I lived on Vancouver Island for 10 years while going to UVic and it took this prairie girl a little bit of time to get used the wet gray winters. But I grew to enjoy them over time, feeling much as you do, that they are like a cozy blanket. (There were days I cursed the chilly dampness and the mold though!) To this day I love to hear the sound of rain.

    Spugy, is that veggie farm near Victoria? I would love to visit it when we head out that way for Christmas this year…


  3. Yeah it’s Madrona Farm, on Blenkinsop Rd. Practically IN Victoria, it’s just up Blenkinsop from Galey Farms. Wed-Sat 11-3 (but get there at 11).


  4. I only wish it was like that here. In the SouthWest, we really have 2 seasons: Summer (roughly June – December) and Gloomy (where it’s cool and cloudy, but not cold). We get 5-10 decent days of rain a year. I yearn for seasons, for days when I can have a great excuse to stay in and cook and crochet and read. I’d love cozy snowy days, and I’d love to see the trees turn color. I know I can’t complain too much because we have beautiful weather, but I’m definitely hoping Husband picks grad school somewhere with seasons.


  5. Thanks Spugy – I know just where that is 🙂 I hope there are still lots of pumpkin fields around there…


  6. As a native desert rat, I found the heavy low gray clouds and endless rain in the Pacific Northwest very oppressive. However, I’ve met people from other areas that have moved to Arizona and found the endless sunshine oppressive. So, I think you hit the nail on the head that it depends on what we grew up with and are accustomed to.

    Like you, I’ve also grown to love the seasonal change in produce. Until I joined the CSA, it didn’t seem to matter as much. Now, though, I really prefer those things that are in season.


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