A Man(o) for All Seasons

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt and perhaps it says “Go to sleep darlings till the summer comes again”.                             ― Lewis Carroll

Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.                                                ― Charles Dickens

 

 

 

2013_september_calendarWe all have a calendar. Some still put one up on the wall in the kitchen or bedroom the way that Mom always did. Many of us have sj.bdj.2011.943-i1one on our phones. And some just use the one that comes as part of the operating system on our computer. But no matter how one uses it it’s all the same calendar. It is called the Gregorian calendar and was named for Pope Gregory XIII in the late 16th century. The Gregorian calendar is a revised version of the Julian calendar (named in honor of Julius Caesar) which itself was an update of the Roman calendar which was a lunar calendar meaning it was based on cycles of the moon. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, meaning that the date indicates the position of the earth on its revolution around the sun. It has 12 months, 365 days, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks per year, & a leap year every 4 years.

Citizens of The Manoverse know that I am a Trekkie, and the Star Wars Trilogy ranked #8 of my 100 Favorite Movies. However back in my school days I must admit that science wasn’t really my favorite subject. It’s a left brain/right brain thing. Science & math never frosted my cupcake, whereas English, history, & social studies were a breeze. Anyway, all that sun & moon stuff as it relates to the calendar doesn’t really interest me. Y’all may have four seasons on your calendar, but in The Manoverse there are 8, and the “real world” ones are just a bit different than how Pope Greg & Julius Caesar defined them. Let me explain:

 

 

Spring

March 1 –May 31. Your calendar will tell you that spring begins on March 19-21 and that it lasts until June 20-22. This is due to something springcalled the vernal equinox. Equinox is a fancy term for “equal night” and it is when the sun crosses directly over the equator. But in my world spring begins on March 1 and ends on Memorial Day. Now I know what you are thinking…sometimes it’s still pretty cold & snowy for much of March. I don’t care. For me…a person that hates cold snowy weather…by the time March rolls around I’m ready for a break. I’m looking for any signs of warmth. And even if it snows atleast I have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s winter’s last gasp and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Spring is a turning point in the year that signifies happier times ahead.

 

Baseball

April 1-October 31 (varies).Sports fans will understand my logic. Scientists & meteorologists can have their moon phases & sun positions. bbWe sports fans calculate our year by what kind of ball is being thrown around. James Earl Jones was right when he said in Field of Dreams that “baseball has marked the time”. As soon as I hear the phrase “pitchers & catchers report” (meaning they are the first ones to arrive at spring training) I know that warm sunshine, gentle breezes, the smell of freshly cut grass, & the friendly sound of birds chirping outside my window are soon to follow.

 

Summer

June 1-August 31. Once again I beg to differ with the official definition. Scientists tell us that summer begins on June 20-22, whenever the lakesolstice occurs, and doesn’t end until September 20-23. The summer solstice is the day when the earth’s axis is most tilted toward the sun (solstice literally meaning “the sun stands still”). But, in reality, by the time the 3rd week of June rolls around we’ve all already dove headfirst into summer. The kids are out of school. Swimming pools have been open for a month. Folks are going camping and enjoying other outdoor activities. Vacation planning is full throttle. Ice cream shops are doing brisk business. Festivals & fairs are underway. We’re way ahead of that sluggish ol’ calendar. Conversely, by the time the calendar indicates that summer is ending we have long since moved on nearly a month before. For me summer ends on Labor Day Weekend. More about that later.

 

Football

Labor Day Weekend-Super Bowl Sunday. While I love the crack of the baseball bat and the smacking of leather into leather as ball meets muglove I must admit that my favorite of all sports is football. The roar of the crowd. The marching bands. The cheerleaders. Teams being down 3 points with 2 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter but driving their offense down the field. Whether the chase for the NCAA’s national championship and all the drama it brings is your cup of tea or if you prefer the 32 team 16 week NFL game of Survivor in an effort to make it to The Super Bowl is more your style it’s all good. Fantasy football and never-ending coverage & analysis by ESPN, talk radio, & The Internet have enhanced the football fandom experience. If I’m not committed to anything else I will sometimes get up early on Saturday morning and watch the pre-game shows and then watch games all day & evening until the last west coast game ends around 1am. It’s 16 hours of pure bliss. Then on Sunday as soon as I get home from church I tune into RedZone and catch all the action for the next six hours or so. If God ever blesses me with a potential mate one thing is certain…she will have to embrace the football season as much as I have, or atleast be very understanding of my obsession.

 

Autumn

September 1-November 30. Just like spring has an equinox so does autumn, called…appropriately enough…the autumnal equinox. The fallterm autumn is derived from the French word automne and the Latin word autumnus, meaning…well…no one really knows. However, we also oftentimes refer to autumn as fall, and that terminology derives from Old English word feallan which means “to fall or to die.” At any rate, your calendar will tell you that autumn (or fall) begins on September 21-23. However, in my world it begins on September 1. Typically by that time the children are back in school, the pools have closed, and Labor Day has rolled around (give or take a day or two). One can feel autumn. There’s a chill in the air. It’s not yet cold…but it’s no longer hot. Leaves usually begin to drop ever so slightly off trees by the beginning of September. If you look around you’ll see that most people have stopped wearing shorts and many have even brought out the light jackets or sweaters. Here in my hometown in northcentral West Virginia we have celebrated, for the past 35 years, our large Italian-American population with the annual Italian Heritage Festival, a 3 day event with lots of good food & music. As I am enjoying seeing friends & family and soaking in all The Tali Rally (as we like to call it) has to offer I am keenly aware that we are transitioning from summer to autumn.

 

Basketball

Early November-Mid June (varies). I am not nearly as much of a basketball fan as I am a football or baseball fan, but as a major American sport it cannot be ignored. It isbbbal the longest of the sports seasons, stretching from early November when several NCAA pre-season tournaments are played until the NBA Finals are over in mid to late June, and unlike football & baseball it is played indoors. To be honest I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to any NCAA games outside of my WVU Mountaineers & Marshall Thundering Herd or the occasional Duke-North Carolina clash until March Madness begins. And I have to be totally bored to watch more than 5 minutes of an NBA game until the playoffs begin in May.

 

Christmas

Thanksgiving Night-New Year’s Day. President Calvin Coolidge once said that “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind”. I Cget what he was saying, but let’s keep it real. Your reaction to seeing twinkle lights or hearing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is completely different in December than it would be in the middle of August. As I have written ad nauseum over the past few years I LOVE Christmas. I love the food, I love the aromas in the air, I love Christmas movies, I love Christmas carols. Now do I think we have gotten a bit out of control with the Christmas Creep?? Sure. But I have embraced the fact that the season begins at Thanksgiving. I am okay with that as long as we give Thanksgiving its proper respect (which I’m not sure we really do these days). For me that means enjoying everything that Thanksgiving is for that entire day, but later on that night…as does happen on occasion…if some TV channel like Turner Classic Movies or American Movie Classics is showing a favorite holiday film like A Christmas Carol, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or Holiday Inn then I’m all in…let the festivities begin. One way you will NOT see me welcome the Christmas season is by going out in the midst of the craziness they call Black Friday. No thank you. I will gladly pay a bit more while shopping during normal hours. I usually don’t even leave The Bachelor Palace on Black Friday unless I have to work. And then, when all the presents have been opened and the last airing of TBS’s A Christmas Story marathon has ended a wee bit of melancholy sets in. The radio stations that have played Christmas songs 24/7 for several weeks usually go back to their regular programming right after midnight on Christmas night, but your humble Potentate of Profundity won’t let this most glorious of seasons end without holding on for dear life. No, for me the season extends until we’ve celebrated New Year’s Day. Only on January 2 will I go kicking & screaming back into the abyss that is…..

 

Winter

December 1 –February 28. Cold weather. Snow. Icy roads. I’m not a big fan. Thank God we have football season & the Christmas season overlapping dreary, chilly, winterdepressing winter. Your traditional Gregorian calendar will tell you that winter begins on December 21-22 and ends on March 19-21. I beg to differ. Here in West Virginia it can begin to snow as early as October, and to me snow means winter. However, I don’t want to get crazy with the whole concept so I simply relegate winter to beginning on December 1. And as I previously stated, even though we will occasionally accumulate significant snowfall in March it is atleast winter’s last gasp, and since I am usually more than ready for warmer temperatures I eagerly look ahead and leap forward in my own mind.

 

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