Sometimes It’s the Simple Things

First 2022 NYC Snowfall

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A snowfall.  Raindrops on the window.  Birdsongs.  The sound of crickets chirping.  Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring us the most joy.

We just had an impactful snowstorm in the northeast.  New York City got about half a foot.  I was in heaven. 

I love the snow.

I love weather.

The Absence of Seasons

I lived in southern California for five years and cared for my mother through the end of her life.  I’m not a California girl.  I’m definitely not a southern California person. 

I lived in Ventura County, halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.  I was less than ten minutes from the beach.  And that was nice.  But we had two seasons:  wildfire season and 70°F season.  Neither of these worked for me. 

I don’t do heat well.  Anything over about 72°F is too hot for me.  People in SoCal were wearing heavy coats and scarves when it was 60°F.  I was out in a t-shirt.  I never wore a coat the entire time I was there.  It was utter misery.

The Experience of Seasons

For the first time, I got to see fall colors.  The trees had deep red and orange and yellow leaves.  Against a gray sky and drizzle, it was simply breathtaking.  I finally understood why it was called Fall.  The leaves on the ground, raked into piles that kids could jump into, was something I had never experienced.  And fireflies!  I had never seen one, so the first time I did, I freaked out.  A friend laughed at me and explained what it was.  I guess I never thought they were actually real.

It was also the first time I ever experienced an ice storm.  Snow was nothing.  I was used to that.  But an ice storm?  That was something I’m not sure I had ever even heard of.  But I learned all about it, and quickly.

And then there was summer.  Flowering trees was definitely a new sight for me.  I don’t think I had ever seen flowering trees.  Magnolia, Dogwood, Cherry Trees… It was breathtaking.  Dogwoods are my favorite. 

The Absence of Seasons (Again)

A photo from the university where I taught. Yes, green trees. But nothing else was green.

And so, after twenty years of living in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, southern California was… brown.  Like seriously… it was mostly brown.  It rained occasionally here or there and things would green up for a week or so, and then it would go back to being brown.  Yes, we had birds.  A hawk used to visit the tree outside my living room window.  And a hummingbird.  And there were seagulls.  And crows.  Lots of crows.  And even a few mockingbirds.  That was nice.  My cat loved talking to the birds through the windows.  But outside, it was always brown.

It rained one day for about thirty minutes in 2020.  Thirty minutes of rain for the entire year!  No wonder they have such intense wildfire seasons.

The Experience of Seasons (Again)

The first rain after I got back to NYC

My mom died in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic.  In summer 2021, after Covid settled down, I returned to New York City.  The first time it rained after I returned, I opened all the windows and I just breathed in the smell and listened to the sound of the rain.  I took pictures and videos and posted them on social media.  

It seems so inconsequential to most people but, to me, it was the best thing ever.  I was so happy.

Central Park Autumn 2021

Autumn was fantastic except for Hurricane Ida.  My car was totaled in the flooding we experienced.  But otherwise, autumn was fantastic.  I made a point of going into Central Park to look at all the trees and enjoy the fall colors and the chill in the air. 

The chill in the air…  I certainly didn’t have that in SoCal.

Beautiful snow-covered tree in the Bronx

We have birds here, too.  We have pigeons or, as my husband and friends like to call them, sky rats.  But we also have blue jays and cardinals and lots of other birds, so I still get birdsong.  But it’s the seasons and the weather that make me most happy. 

I have discovered that the saying, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” is true.  I didn’t know how much I appreciated the seasons and the weather until I didn’t have them. 

I no longer take the weather and the seasons for granted.  I make a point of enjoying every minute of them.  Because sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring us the most joy. 

Published by Lisa R. Barry, Ph.D.

Life Story Coach, Shamanic Life Coach, Reiki Master, WomanSpeak Circle Leader, Tarot & Oracle Reader, Wisdom of the Serpent Oracle & Guidebook Creator, Witch, Chakra Healer, Crystal Junkie, Author, Scholar, Former College Professor (25yrs), Speaker, Crazy Cat Lady, Hippie Liberal Feminist

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