Where You Are, Maybe
A lot of people think Hawaii is a paradise. Well, it is, in a way. The land and the sea are beautiful. There are no large predatory animals, except sharks. And the grasses and the trees and the flowers bloom all year long.
And there's the rub. The fly in the ointment. The skunk at the garden party. The snake in Paradise. Nothing ever changes, much. You have to look at your watch to see what month it is. There are no seasons. We've had as many days in the nineties in February as in August, since I've been here. It's supposed to rain more in the Winter, and less in the Summer. But it seems to have forgotten that, these last few years. It's getting senile, I guess. Poor old thing. We get hurricanes in the late Spring, early Summer; and again in the late summer, early Fall. But they usually can't find us, out here in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully.
Thanks are a problem, here. Those who have lived here all their lives don't appreciate the weather, fully. Every day is a perfect summer day here, almost without exception. Mild and sunny, with balmy breezes and the smell of flowers. The kind of day that would have everyone in New York walking around with a shit-eating grin on their faces. Warm rain is the worst weather we ever get here. No one even owns an umbrella. Most stores don't even carry them. The only time you see them is when a Japanese lady is trying to protect her pale skin from the sun. If you tan, and you want it to last forever, move to Hawaii, and don't ever leave.
Most of the locals never do leave. So, they are entirely innocent of the notion of climate. I was trying to explain to a girl here what Spring was like, in the Northeast. After a long, cold, grey, miserable, colourless, deadening Winter, suddenly, the Earth comes alive. Out of the slush and the grime and the muck come flowers, unbelievably. Every year we find ourselves looking closely at them, as if we had never expected to see them again, and couldn't understand how they had found their way back to life again.
Then the trees burst out in buds, and the grasses magically revive. Everything is alive again, the most wonderful miracle, and everyone feels as if they had been reborn. Easter is special, a pagan holiday, and we all feel as if we had rolled away the stone, and come back from the dead. It's romantic, in a foolishly young way. Even God is susceptible to love, apparently, at Springtime. Ah, sunshine and warm rain and colours and the scent of flowers, and it's almost like Hawaii, for a few weeks, every year.
"No way," this girl said. "No flowers?" Nope, I told her, all winter long, no flowers. She didn't believe me. So, how could I tell her about Autumn? When, slowly, everything dies, beautifully, passionately, embracing life one last time, defiantly, in a million colours and in the crisp, clean, envigourating air, and in the frenzied preparations of animals for the long, long Winter.
She would never understand the experience, having never had it. She would never comprehend the transcendental moments of peace and joy, walking in the woods in September in New England, October in the Middle Atlantic, November in the Southeast. That moment when everything changes, all around you. You know, then, that you are changing too. You're a little older, and differently foolish, and the dying woods remind you that they have died before, and lived again, and you will, too. If only in the Springtime.
I envy you your horrible weather, sometimes, you Mainlanders. Like now. Enjoy it. The Winter is coming. And then you may envy me. At least, I hope so. Otherwise, what the Hell am I doing here? There's no goddamned SEASONS!
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