Holidays are a seasonal thing and for me, three decades of life in Chicago gave ‘season’ a whole new meaning.

Persian New Year –Norooz– announced the arrival of spring, although snow continued till April and a true spring only showed its face by Easter.  Summer meant trips to the beach, Ravinia concerts, and fireworks at Gilson Park, all of which required strong protection against mosquitos. Then came fall with Halloween costumes, trash bags filled with leaves, and oh those delightful caramel apples. Thanksgiving was celebrated with friends who filled the gap where an extended family had been. Soon a gift giving season and holiday parties took away the winter blues. Decades went by, then we moved to California.

How does one distinguish seasonal celebrations when the four seasons have merged into one long summer? In the beginning, I had a hard time telling the change of seasons. True that the temperature varies by a few degrees and we do have two-and-a-half rainy days, but a whole different season?

Regardless of how many calendars I bought, we seemed to be stuck permanently in May. As the years went by, I learned some of the subtle signs and seasons became somewhat clearer. By now I know spring has arrived when the apple tree blossoms. Of course, our apple tree needs a new calendar because sometimes it blossoms in fall, too! Summer is easier to tell as the tourist pour in and make the drive through the La Jolla bottle neck impossible. Then comes fall and I know it’s there because we no longer sit outside and I’m left with all the Halloween candy my husband buys – though we haven’t seen a single kid ring our doorbell in thirteen years! And then it’s winter because the roses are still blooming and they need to be cut down to suit the season. Christmas is never “white”. I do most of my green Christmas shopping on Amazon and put my packages under a fake tree! So, yes, one can tell the changing of seasons, but the seasonal-ness has long left my holidays.

Does this mean I miss Chicago? Not really. I miss my friends but I promise to be good. Please don’t send me back to the cold!

Zohreh Ghahremani

Author, speaker and painter Zohreh (Zoe) Ghahremani

Zoe is working on numerous new books, public speaking and working on paintings, living by her motto that “life is short, but the road is wide!”

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