A friend of mine who lives in Vermont describes his weather as nine months of winter and three months of very poor sledding. He’s on the right track for Vermont. If you live in Vermont, you should expect just two seasons: cold and colder. Very few people move to Ohio for the climate, but all the flashy brochures produced (at tax payer cost, I might add) to tout our state feature four seasons of unmatched beauty. This might be a little misleading.
Someone far more clever than I has put names to events we are all experiencing. Anyone who has lived in Ohio for more than 12 months knows we have weather issues here. These weather issues are not featured in the brochures. While we are certainly capable of breathtakingly beautiful ambiance, often in this state we experience breathtakingly bad climate. Summer, fall, winter, spring just don’t begin to describe what we go through in an average year. And this has been no average year. The rain, the wind, the dramatic change from day to day all conspire to make our lives less than salubrious. Salubrious is NOT the feeling you experience shoveling snow or gathering blown-down tree limbs or mowing your lawn every five minutes or replacing roof shingles.
The clever person to whom I refer has expanded upon the usual four seasons to try to detail more precisely what is going on here. If I knew who came up with this, I’d give them credit. They certainly deserve it.
The first season is winter. We know everything about winter we care to. Winter is when you mortgage your house to heat your house. This vicious cycle is interrupted by the season number two: fool’s spring. Fools’ spring is that one or two sunny mild days that invariably crop up in late February or March. It is a heart-breaker to the uninitiated because they think winter is over. They are wrong. Winter is just taking a little breather so that it can make an expanded and intensified appearance as season number three: second winter. Second winter reminds us why Florida was invented. As awful as Florida is (and any state where drive-by shooting is the official state sport is pretty awful indeed), Florida’s winters consist of temperatures in the forties. This makes the natives flutter around in a panic but it makes the much more hearty visitors from Ohio think it’s just about ideal to take a dip in the ocean. Now the stage is set for the fourth season: spring of deception. Spring of deception often lasts longer than fool’s spring. Spring of deception can go on for a week or two, which is why it is so dangerous. This is the weather that makes Ohioans in Florida think it’s time to come home. They pack their RVs and head north, clogging up I-75 and turning it into a parking lot for Winnebagos. Mother Nature sees this as a signal to send a great big blizzard down from Canada or wherever great big blizzards generate. Canada is as good a guess as any. There is a lot of empty space up there and most of it is covered in snow. This blizzard is season number five: third winter. Alcohol consumption goes through the roof (along with all that heat we are paying for) during third winter. We think it’s just never going to end. But it does. Eventually third winter gives way grudgingly to the next season which is pollen time. Nature’s bounty goes from everything being dormant to everything throwing pollen into the air until the air is visible, albeit tinted yellow with ragweed. It’s a necessary evil because the trees, unlike human beings know the real thing is coming. Yes! Actual spring is next. It’s here. It’s real. It’s beautiful and fecund and blooming and it lasts about three weeks until (cue scary music … duh, duh, DUH!) summer. Oh, summer starts out nicely enough. Temperatures are in the seventies and eighties. The sun shines except during those thunderstorms that light the sky up. Summer is great right up until the next season which is hell’s front porch and don’t pretend you don’t know what this is. Hell’s front porch is just like the rest of hell only more humid. This is when the temperature hovers right around ninety-eight with matching humidity. Then those thunderstorms pop up in an instant and bring their cousin, the tornado, with them. This isn’t featured in the brochure, either.
Front porch ends with false fall. We get some cooler weather. Trees begin their transformation into palettes of color and leaves begin to drift downward. Those so inclined sometimes embark on raking those fallen panes of orange and yellow. The gods of humidity show a little mercy. This mercy is short-lived. Because second summer arrives with a vengeance. It’s hot again. It’s humid again. You’d have to have the stamina of an Iron Man to rake in this weather. Which is why second fall is so welcome. Sure, you have to rake again, this time for real, but at least you probably won’t suffer heat stroke while doing so. And we all know the remedy for heat stroke: winter.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for Miami Valley Today.