Tale of Two Thompsons

Get Intimate With the Seasons by Creating a Seasonal Bucket List

I feel more connected to the seasons this year than I ever have before, like each one is tethered to my soul.

There’s no specific reason I’ve been feeling this way other than I’ve just been paying more attention to every small shift. I feel these shifts internally. I feel each season come to life. I feel each one in its prime. I feel each one fade away and slowly relent to the next. Seasons don’t have emotions, but sometimes I think I do the feeling for them.

It started with the sweet dewiness of spring. The smattering of yellow flowers and that expansive robin’s egg blue sky. I wasn’t ready to let it go. It was the most beautiful spring ever. Or maybe, like I said, I just paid more attention this year.

Most seasonal transitions makes me feel a little melancholy, especially the transition from summer to fall. It hits me every year the first of September. I’ve been out of school for years, but it never fails – when I step outside and feel that first ting of coolness in the air that wasn’t there before, nostalgia washes over me and I feel like I should be out buying school supplies. That coolness in the air means summer has sung her last song and she’s retreating backstage to let Fall take the spotlight for a while. And trust me, she’s a crowd favorite.

We order our lives around the seasons. We see them in colors. We hear them in sounds and songs. We feel them in hot or cold temperatures. We taste them. We wear them. They are key players in our memories.

Summer is swirled soft serve and a pair of old sunglasses, driving with the windows down, taking the back way to your destination. A beach souvenir dangling from your rear view mirror. Sitting on towels so the car seats won’t get wet after an afternoon at the pool. Spitting watermelon seeds in the grass. Breezy linen. Noisy bull frogs at night. Red and white checkered picnic tablecloths. Fireworks coloring that blank canvas of a night sky. I’m not sure which I adore more – summertime itself, or anticipating its return.

Fall is the sound of morning crows. The flicker of candlelight. A worn out flannel shirt. The soft strum of a banjo in the background of a song. Sipping coffee on a front porch, wrapped in your favorite blanket. Bright faces staring into a campfire. Log cabins shrouded in thick forest. Attempting to re-read that book you can never finish. The smell of roasted coffee beans. Leather journals. Light streaming from an old, red gas lantern. Mountains blanketed in fog. Corn fields. Corn bread. A crockpot full of chili simmering all day. The early morning squeak of school bus brakes right outside your neighboorhood. A marching band proudly playing the school fight song.

Winter is a popping fireplace. A moody acoustic playlist. Chopped firewood stacked in the corner. Lazy, golden sunlight streaming through windows in the evenings that end too soon. Quiet night walks. Clear skies littered with stars. Nestling underneath heavy homemade quilts. Buffalo plaid everything. Naked tree branches scratching window panes. Pinecones. Frozen ponds.

Spring is windchimes clinking in the wind. Cold, new grass under bare feet. The thud of raindrops hitting the top of an umbrella. Bird nests in your front door wreath. Seeds packets lining a store aisle. A vinyl record spinning its song through a screen door.

One of my favorite books, As Far As the Eye Can See by David Brill, details the author’s 1979 Appalachian Trail thru-hike. There’s a chapter titled Seasons, and his thoughts on the topic seemed fitting to share.

“Even today – more than twenty-five years after I completed the trail – I suffer pangs of nostalgia with spring’s onset. When those first spring days arrive and the whole world seems charged with passion and energy, I sit at a traffic light, bound for work in my climate-controlled office, and roll down my windows to savor the spring air, fragrant with the aroma of a million blossoms. I eye the landscaper, the carpenter, the maintenance worker seated in the truck beside me. I see him clad in work clothes, with the first ruddy traces of sun coloring his cheeks, and I envy him for his days spent outside and his intimacy with the seasons.

I realize that I, with my desk job, will witness the spring in scattered glimpses, while paused at traffic lights, at lunch hours spent on park benches, on weekends spent tilling my garden. And I realize, sadly, that one day the spring will have passed, and it will be summer, and I will remind myself, as I always do, to pay closer attention next year.

The trail forever changed my perspective on the seasons. On the trail, I lived the seasons. I experienced them moment to moment, sensing one season’s gradual surrender to the next. There was no urgency, just the perennial cycle of death and life played out in slow fluid motion, every morning providing new evidence of change.”

Something I do to usher in a new season is create a seasonal bucket list. Bucket list items can be big or small. Whether it’s going on a grand weekend road trip or simply cooking one of your favorite seasonal meals, the important thing is that it stirs excitement in you for the upcoming season and gives you something to look forward to.

Make your bucket list specific and personal to you. If you do a quick Google or Pinterest search for “Fall Bucket List,” you’ll no doubt find several generic lists filled with items like “carve pumpkins” or “drink apple cider”. Those aren’t bad things, but they’re no-brainers, and they aren’t very original.

Be detailed and specific. For example, on my fall bucket list, I wrote “Find Knoxville’s best apple fritter”. There are several donut shops around town, so it will be fun to sample different locations throughout the season and find our favorite apple fritter in the area.

Once you’ve completed your bucket list, post it in a spot in your home where you will see it often. I posted mine on our kitchen chalkboard.

One last thing: be sure to leave room to write in additional items whenever they cross your mind. Your seasonal bucket list doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all. If you don’t end up crossing every item off the list, that’s OK! The list is there to serve as a record keeper for all the ways you took advantage of the season, but if you don’t cross an item off the list, save it for next year!


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