Seasons’ Highs and Lows

In many countries in the world, the Christmas season is highly anticipated. In the Philippines, this enthusiasm is heightened. In fact, from the month of September, people are already gearing up for the Yuletide season, playfully greeting their friends and families with “Merry Christmas.” Memes with the lines of Jose Mari Chan’s song “Christmas in our hearts” are shared online by not a few Filipino netizens.

In Europe, this week is the transition period from summer to autumn. Sunny skies, colorful summer flowers and warm temperature will soon give way to a cooler weather and to a wonderful array of autumn leaves’ color—yellow orange, orange, rust, red, brown. After a few months however, this various hues will be carpeted by white and the almost-perfect cool temperature will soon become cold and freezing.

The change of seasons is associated with a change of colors, temperature and weather. But aside from these, it seems to be connected too to people’s emotions, life events and memorable celebrations.

This change of seasons have been the subject of several artists’ artworks. With the rendering of their paintbrushes, cameras or prints, the seasons come alive.

In an exhibit in Paris of the artworks of painter Alphonse Mucha, I saw these lovely depictions (images were taken from http://www.muchafoundation.org/en/gallery/browse-works/object/80):

Then when I visited the Chateau Fontainebleau last month, I came across these wonderful tapestries adorning the walls of one of the palace rooms:

 A postcard of the Eiffel Tower demonstrates this change in a simple way:

This is a simplistic view, however. Having walked around the area and having seen the Eiffel Tower regularly during the time I stayed in Paris, the view is much more. Sometimes, the clouds are so lovely. At certain times, the sky is downcast.  A times, the top part of the Tower is hidden by a mist. There are days too that the Tower seems to be just a gray, metal structure from afar but there are times that the glittering lights take your breath away.

There are images we associate with seasons—sunny sky and the beach for summer, a garden with multi-hued trees for autumn, an idyllic scene of a countryside blanketed with snow for winter, and the blossoming plants for spring. Also, people associate the seasons to the feelings of hope, rebirth, joie de vivre and loneliness.

In the Philippines where there are only two seasons, the wet and dry season, there seems to be no iconic image especially since it’s almost the same all year round, except when the cold gusts come from December to January and the monsoon rains visit during July to August. Based from my observation, there is more focus on celebrations and traditions like Christmas, New Year, start of the academic year, end of school, and in a small-scale, the fiestas celebrated in the different regions in the Philippines.

People have preferences about their favorite seasons. But in reality, it is not really the weather or the color that determines this. It is the beautiful memories associated with the seasons and the people that made that certain/week/month memorable. It is not really the coldness of the winter that makes one feel sad or lonely; it’s the missing warmth when families or loved ones are far away or it may be the reflective one finds herself/himself every end or start of the year. It’s not only the caress of the sun at the beach that makes you enjoy summer. It can be the beauty of nature, days of respite away from a demanding work, or the enjoyable company of friends or it can be the joy of solitude.

You? What is your favorite season and why? 🙂

Author’s Note: I wrote this piece amidst the clouds, as the plane flew from Paris to Singapore, on 5 September 2021.

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