When asked what’s my favorite season, I’ve always had a loyal response. Now, however, I’ve finally realized that the question is more idiosyncratic than I thought. It largely depends on where.
My favorite season is fall (or autumn as I call it here since no one would understand the strange American way to describe the transition season). The thing that made me truly homesick when I first came to Italy, studying abroad in Florence as a 19 year-old, was the lack of autumn during the autumn. The closest thing to the vibrant reds, rust oranges, faded greens, yellows and browns that the trees wear in Athens, Ohio during the fall was the warm yellow paint of the Florentine buildings or perhaps the sunset over the Arno. It’s lovely, but it wasn’t enough.
What’s more, my Italian autumn didn’t offer the crisp dry air that punctuates Ohio autumns. In fact, it was totally different.
I spent that entire season airing out my boots, shoving newspaper into the toes in the vain attempt to dry them before class the next day. It rained nearly every day for two months, the most rain they’ve had in who knows how many years of course. Last autumn I spent the season riding my bike to my new job as a teacher, boots on, hood up, precariously holding my umbrella above me with one hand, clutching the handlebars and brakes in the other.
So after years and years of defending my favorite season, I’m here to report that it’s changed. In the Midwest and East of the United States my favorite season is fall, but in Italy it’s all about the spring.
Spring in Italy means the rain has stopped. It means that somehow, seemingly against all odds, the grounds completely open up and the gray, depressing cityscape turns into a vibrant living garden. Azaleas bloom across lake islands in Lago Maggiore or Bellaggio. Magnolias you never noticed before explode in color and perfume. Balconies are covered in the hanging purple glycine flowers.
Luckily for me, my father-in-law’s garden, and our soon to be garden, is no different. Worked on by generations, it’s been lovingly shaped and coaxed into the garden oasis that it is today, a spectacular lawn that, though beautiful year round, finds its climax in spring.
“Sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”
Now let’s #GetOutside!