For everything, there is a season…
I write my column this week in the midst of a not-so-fun heatwave. Heat indexes in the triple digits are never, ever fun unless you’re able to spend all your time indoors, preferably with a giant bowl of ice cream in hand.
It’s not like this heat was unexpected. It’s July after all, and summer is just kicking itself into high gear. This past week I saw a regular yearly joke pop up on social media. You may be familiar with it. It describes the seasons of North Carolina, not as the four we learn in school, but something along the lines of “winter, false spring, second winter, third winter, POLLEN, summer, Satan’s front porch, fake fall, third summer, actual fall, winter.”
I may be paraphrasing a little, but you can probably guess what season we are currently in, right?
I’ve always thought the joke was pretty funny because it’s so accurate. The weather in North Carolina really does usually follow that weird pattern of giving us false hope that the next season has arrived before circling back to double down again on the current one.
But putting the weather-related seasons aside for a moment, I wonder what other seasons we could use to describe a regular year in the life of North Carolinians (aside from a year with a pandemic in it, of course). So here’s what I’ve come up with:
Snow speculation season: this one sounds weather-related but it really has nothing to do with the actual precipitation forecast. This season is when we all gather together to talk about how great or how terrible it would be if it happened to snow. It’s the time of year when any hint of thunder will get someone to tell you about the possibility of “thundersnow.” It’s the time of year when the NCDOT starts spraying salt stuff on the road long before we may actually need it. It’s the time of year when we start taking extra notice of the stock of bread and milk in the grocery store just in case we need to panic-buy it at any moment.
Slow-moving tractor season: this season starts when it’s time to start getting the fields ready and it stretches on until the last crop is harvested. You cannot avoid this season no matter how often you stick to well-traversed highway roads. You are guaranteed to get caught at least once a season behind a slow-moving tractor when you’re in a hurry. (Note: this season sometimes happens concurrently with school bus season. And no, cursing under your breath at either one of them will not make them go any faster.)
Fresh vegetable season: the time of year when your garden, your neighbor’s garden, and everyone else’s garden starts producing way more vegetables than you can eat. Sick of squash, corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes yet? Too bad. Start looking up more new recipes to try or learn how to can and freeze stuff! Nature does not stop just because you’ve had corn for dinner every day this week. (An alternative name for this season if you don’t have your own garden is “best time to visit a farmer’s market season.”)
The “I’d like to go to the beach. At least there’s always a breeze there” season: Inevitably, we get to a point every year where a trip to the beach sounds tantalizing. Even if we don’t like the beach, that sea-salty cool breeze sure does sound like a nice idea just to get away from home for a while.
College football season: different sports fill in the gaps throughout the year (present year excluded) but people here seem to get the most excited for when college football begins. It’s the time of year to cheer for your favorite team and talk about how the refs always favor the rival team. It’s the time of year to participate in the art of tailgating. It’s the time of year for people who aren’t interested in sports to nod politely in conversations about who’s going to win the championship this year. (High school football season can also be considered as an alternative season.)
Christmas lights season: the lights start going up right after Halloween and they’re your reminder that the hectic holiday is fast approaching and it’s time to start buying presents. Or at least thinking about buying presents and then waiting until the last minute. Admittedly, this is a season for more than just North Carolina, but we hang up spectacular and tacky lights just as well as everyone else.
After that, we’re back to snow speculation season and the year starts all over again.
What’s your favorite North Carolina season?
Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 252-332-7206.