The first glimpse of a sticky Southern summer is on the horizon, days filled with sun and sweat and laying around doing absolutely nothing. We will spend our days splashing with a water hose or in the pool or maybe a questionable pond in one of these Tennessee hollers. We’ll roast hot dogs over a fire after dark and accept the dry heat in exchange for momentary reprieve from the mosquitoes. The kids will watch way too much TV and moan about being bored and fail to complete their chores for the umpteenth time. They will also laugh about something utterly nonsensical, play Candyland 1,435 times because they get a piece of candy if they can get through the whole game without someone crying, and come up with ideas they never would have had before, when so many of their moments were being scheduled and planned for them.
No doubt about it, summer is my favorite season.
Then along comes August, when summer’s heat and humidity are oppressive and draining, and the endless stretches of days upon days becomes too empty to bear, and we look forward to school starting again. Freshly sharpened pencils and brand new notebooks and a lunchbox that is cool-but-not-too-babyish, of course, because these kids are growing up and these are the things that matter. The heat will slowly lift and the air becomes drier as the crisp winds of autumn usher in my real favorite season. We’ll have tailgates and sweaters and chili, and the explosion of color in these Great Smoky Mountains stirs something in my heart that can only be called “home.”
No doubt about it, fall is my favorite season.
Once December hits, though, my heart leaves autumn behind Thanksgiving, and I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Granted, I don’t think I have ever seen snow on Christmas in 35 years in Tennessee, but it doesn’t stop my wishful thinking. It’s time to bundle up and build fires and bake bake bake my little heart out. Once the holidays pass and the lights come down, we are left with just cold and dreary, but that doesn’t have to mean depressing. Winter reminds me that renewal happens in the dark, underground, in the cold, in the waiting. This is the time for plants and animals to do the hard work of resting and preparing to blossom, and in a sense, I can do the same.
No doubt about it, winter is my favorite season.
Then in comes March like a lion, and I don’t even mind the storms because I know it will go out like a lamb. The atmosphere shifts and the sky looks bluer, the earliest buds start to peep on the trees. The pale greens of every hue light the way as the sun glimmers through the first sign of shade on these winding country roads. Wildlife ventures out to forage in this spring rebirth, neighbors venture out to start their gardening, and my children venture out to dig for worms in the moist earth brought from this rain. As the world awakens and comes back to life, the gentle warmth of the sun seals the deal for me:
No doubt about it, spring is my favorite season.
Right now looks like none of those things, but still I think, my favorite season is this one. This season of safer at home, of learning each other and how we learn. Rediscovering family time and every meal around the table and — not gonna lie — family movie night every night. We are reading aloud and redecorating the play house and reorganizing the closet. We have ideas that we try out, because why the heck not? We explore every nook and cranny of our backyard, learn to identify poison ivy and poisonous snakes, and cringe at YouTube videos of people being stung by Murder Hornets. In this season, we honestly answer questions about Coronavirus and what happens if our grandparents are infected and how we can help our neighbors. We have church together in our living room and disciple our own kids and talk about our struggles. We sometimes take breaks from each other because 24/7 is a LOT of togetherness after two months+, but we always come back together because this is family, and we belong to each other.