- Flickr / coniferconifer
- Every take you’ve ever read about which season is “best” is wrong. All seasons are equally good.
- Each season provides something great to look forward to, enjoy, and remember.
- Because seasons end, they provide urgency. They give you reasons to live your life now, to not wait.
- But if you miss a season, there’s always the next one.
The start of fall is the time of year we get the most takes about which season is best.
Maybe that’s because so many people are summer partisans and sad to see it go. Maybe it’s because people love to argue about Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Anyway, all the takes about which season is best are wrong.
There is no best season. All four seasons are equally good.
Every season is great
Over Labor Day weekend, a friend remarked to me that he was sad that summer was about to end. I told him I was excited.
Fall means crisp air and beautiful foliage, I said. It means trips to Hudson Valley for apple picking. And it means I get to make stews and braises again – fall is the perfect time for my braised pork shoulder with caramelized onion, apple, and sage gravy.
He looked at me as if I had three heads, but that won’t stop me from inviting him over for pork shoulder.
Of course, fall won’t last long. Soon it will get cold, and the leaves will fall off the trees. But that just means the arrival of Thanksgiving, with more opportunities to spend time with friends and family and cook (but please, not turkey). And then there will be festive Christmas decorations, more family celebrations, more food, and maybe some travel at the holidays.
Of the four seasons, winter probably has the fewest fans, but I believe it has a practical charm. The fact that there’s not as much to do in January and February make these months a perfect time for resets of habit: a better diet, a more regular workout routine. Every group of friends needs the serious, responsible one – among the seasons, that’s winter.
Plus, there is skiing.
You might also try getting married in January, as I did. Wedding venues are cheaper, and putting your anniversary in the winter gives you something extra to celebrate at a slow time in the calendar.
Then comes spring, with beautiful flowers and longer, warmer days to start spending time outdoors. (Were the flowers especially good in New York this past spring, or did I just start noticing them because Business Insider moved offices and my commute became a long bike ride along the Hudson River?)
And then summer will return, heating up just in time for you to have really missed the sun and the beach.
Every season has its downsides, but why focus on them?
Yes, the days get short in the fall. Winter is cold, and in Manhattan, snow looks good only while it is falling. Spring is rainy. Summer is humid, and Manhattan smells like garbage.
It’s possible to fixate on all those things – and many people do.
But as with so many things in life, there is good and bad, and you have a great deal of control over your own happiness when you choose to focus on the good.
That is to say: This fall, don’t think about the shorter days – think about my delicious braised pork shoulder with caramelized onion, apple, and sage gravy.
The best thing about seasons is seasonality
There’s a reason Starbucks sells the PSL only in the fall, and it’s not that nobody would be basic enough to drink it in April.
The magic of the seasons comes from the fact that they don’t last. You need to enjoy the beach now, before it gets too cold. You need to see the autumn leaves before they turn brown. You need to ski when it’s snowy. You need to see the flowers while they bloom.
Seasons provide urgency. They provide a reason to live your life now, to not wait.
Somehow, I manage to find some seasonal changes surprising even when they are entirely predictable. Every year, I am jarred by the shorter days in the fall. How can it get dark so early? Intellectually, I know about the Earth’s axial tilt and all that. But somehow, it still feels unexpected.
But the wonder of longer days in spring wouldn’t be possible without shorter ones in fall. So each fall, I keep that perspective. I look forward to pork shoulder now, and longer days in a few months’ time.
Because that’s the other great thing about seasons: They are forgiving. They come around again. If you didn’t get to the beach as much as you wanted this summer, there’s always next year.
But first: fall.