Inhabitants of those planetary zones where the change of seasons (as allocated by the yearly calendar) portends actual alterations in weather nature and the length of daily sunlight, have had the expected, regular happening of such quadrennial phenomena “baked in” to their understanding of the normal order of things; indeed, many consider themselves more fortunate than others whose residential geography lacks such variety. These changes provide the context for a myriad of life style experiences, from holiday and cultural observances to the enjoyment of traditionally appropriate sports.
Tramping through multicolored fallen leaves in the fall, celebrating Christmas and Chanukah and building snowmen in winter; in the spring, Easter and Passover and the start of the baseball season, sunbathing and swimming in summer are all popularly anticipated and experienced.
Food and beverages are selected and enjoyed as part of the traditional recognition of the presenting season: hot chocolate, mulled cider and fire-toasted marshmallows (winter), iced beverages, gazpacho soup and cold watermelon (summer) to cite a few, albeit representative, examples.
There is no dearth of music, of every genre and period, whose title and thematic music are related to the seasons, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” (baroque), “Summertime” by George Gershwin (modern opera), “Summer in the City” (rock) and Berlin’s “White Christmas” (pop) to cite a few of very many examples.
Industry and commerce, of necessity, key their products and services to the relevant (seasonal) demand; in the swim suit season those manufacturers who limit their production to woolen coats are obliged to go into summer hibernation (probably, Miami).
While it is true that the specific day and date, as allocated on the yearly calendar, may vary somewhat from the precise date of the change of season, history and long experience have shown that the seasons do manifest themselves at or about the designated time. The eternal regularity and consistency of these predictable, fixed phenomena create in us an assurance of normalcy and existential security, concerning our planet and its secure rotational venue in the greater solar system.
However, and most disturbingly, recent times have seen marked and obvious changes in weather and atmospheric conditions manifestly at variance with these previously experienced in these quadrennial periods. We have been experiencing unpredictable and disparate weather conditions generally inconsistent with long established seasonal assumptions. This is confusing and most upsetting. The least of our concerns is that we are obliged to dress as called for by the individual day as opposed to the season, as previously. A far more disturbing concern is that such changed phenomena may have its roots in the general over-all problem of global, man- made pollution and a consequent degradation of our planet and its atmosphere (blog#16).
While the scientific cause of the present (hopefully, ephemeral) anomaly seems not to be presently known, one would, in any event, be obliged to suggest that we all concentrate on cleaning up our act.