Thursday, September 22, 2016

Septober and The Six Seasons

(Main Source)
Nope, I had never heard that term before yesterday when Scott the Badger tossed that out in a comment. I do like the concept though, Septober, which is kind of the last two weeks in September and the first two weeks in October. This article in the Chicago Tribune describes it quite nicely (at least I thought so).

The sweltering heat of summer is behind us (at least up North that's the case) and the icy blast of winter isn't upon us yet. The weather in Septober can be, not to put too fine a point on it, perfect. To tell the truth, with the exception of a rather too warmish spell of a couple of days, it has been very fine as of late. The kind of day it is a pleasure to be alive. Provided, of course, that all else is fine. (If you're sick, or in dire straits of one form or another then it doesn't matter how bloody nice the weather, if'n you get my drift.)

So I like this concept of Septober, summer has just passed and the nastier weather which autumn can bring hasn't started yet. But thinking about that concept sent me down other paths, which happens often, sometimes in the same sentence. (But I digress...)

I have lived in a number of places in my travels, most of them very nice indeed, but very different from my native New England. Not all of these places were blessed (perhaps cursed) with four distinct seasons such as we lay claim to here in the Northeast. (And truth be told, much of the Northeastern United States is beautiful, once you get away from the big cities that is.)

First stop on my world travels was Denver, I would return there some years later. What I remember of the climate there was that Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Cheyenne (up in Wyoming but not far from northern Colorado) were all very different weather-wise.

In Denver it was usually warm during the day, then it cooled off rapidly at night. In the winter the weather could be brutal and my first November in the Mile High City made me think that November was unending rain, cold, and misery. When I returned seven years later, November wasn't that wet. But in the fall of '75 all I can remember is marching in the rain with a soaking wet hat and an Air Force raincoat that was apparently designed to funnel the rain from one's cap down the neck of one's raincoat.

In '82 when I came back for 13 months, November was just fine. But in December we received three feet of snow on Christmas Eve. A week later most of it was melted. Leaving me to believe that Denver was cold and snowy one day, then seventy degrees the next. No one in that fair city has the slightest clue of how to drive in the snow. Not one.

I didn't spend much time in the Springs, it just seemed that it snowed down there every week. At least that's what the Denver weather guessers led me to believe. But Fort Collins, that was paradise. (Perhaps it still is?)

Warm (sometimes hot) during the day in summer, a thunderstorm every afternoon around 4:30, then cool nights which made for perfect sleeping weather. In early December we would get a very picturesque snowfall which would, of course, completely melt before Christmas. Heavy snow was fairly rare, had one big snowfall in the three and a half years we were there.

Cheyenne, Wyoming was like an outpost on the last frontier. The Rockies were visible in the far distance, it was always cold in the winter and the wind never stopped blowing. Ever. At least that is how I remember it. (The Nuke was born outside Denver in an Army hospital, The WSO was born in the Air Force clinic at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne. Just as points of reference.)

Okinawa was generally boiling hot in the summer (but not as bad as Biloxi, MS) but tended to be in the 50s and 60s during the winter. Oh and there were really only two seasons, raining and not raining. Again, that's how I remember it.

Korea was either scorching hot in the summer, or frigid cold in the winter. In the spring it would rain, in the fall it would also rain. But it was tolerable, some parts of Korea actually have four seasons, they reminded me of New England. Well, except for the Buddhist temples and the lack of signs in English. (Upon my return from Asia after six plus years my Dad got a chuckle from my expressed amazement at how "the signs, wow, they're all in English!")

Germany (where I lived, not far from Aachen, not far from Köln, right on the Dutch border) had two seasons, raining and drop dead beautiful. Well, actually it rained frequently in my little corner of Nordrhein-Westfalen. (Think Westphalia, somewhere near Basingstoke. Skip ahead to the 0:46 mark, if you must, but the entire bit is hysterical.)

Anyway, as I was saying, it rained quite a bit in my little corner of Deutschland, so much so that a colleague of mine who grew up in the area quizzed me one day as to how one could tell it was summer in Germany.

"I don't know Johannes, how can you tell if it's summer in Germany?"

"The rain is warm."

Anyhoo. When it wasn't raining it was really gorgeous, Germany (even in winter) is very green. (It's all that rain dontcha know?)

Now that I've regaled you with "the Sarge's global weather experience" I need to address that "Six Seasons" thing. When I was researching Septober, I stumbled across a reference to six seasons as opposed to four. Which rather matches my own experiences here in Little Rhody. (Doesn't quite apply universally in the Northeast, but Rhode Island, on the coast, is a match.)

Those six seasons are - (Source for this is here. Sigh, yes, I know, it's Wikipedia but it matches my experiences in many cases.)
  • Prevernal (early or pre-spring) - Think the season of big snow is past, but it's not that warm yet, tolerable but the nights are still cold. And the wind blows all of the time.
  • Vernal (spring) - Seeing more rain, the air is starting to warm up. And the wind blows all of the time.
  • Estival (high summer) - Scorching heat and high humidity. And the wind blows only when it isn't scorching hot. In other words, when a nice sea breeze would be just the thing, it ain't happening
  • Serotinal (late summer) - Still hot early in this season, Septober falls in here. It's also hurricane season. At least from what I've seen this is when those big storms brush my neck of the woods.
  • Autumnal (autumn) - Rains a lot. And the wind blows all of the time.
  • Hibernal (winter) - Colder than a businessman's heart. And the wind blows all of the time. Sometimes it snows, but never at Christmas. Then it's either warm and sunny or cold and rainy. At least that's my experience. And the wind blows all of the time. (Yes, I know I said that twice. The wind seldom stops in the colder months.)
Anyhoo, that's Septober and the Six Seasons. I think I'll stick with Four Seasons, officially. After all, that matches what Vivaldi composed.

And yes, "Spring" is my favorite from that piece. Though Autumn is my favorite season. Until November, then I pray for Spring.

And yes, Vivaldi's Four Seasons is one of my favorite pieces of music. YMMV...


  1. I should have kept quiet. We have had one thunderstorm after another for 24 hours now. The forecast is for a partly cloudy Thursday, and then the rain starts around 0200 Friday.

    1. That always seems to be the case doesn't it? Talk about how gorgeous the weather is, then boom, rain.

  2. I know that summer is coming to a close, however. Wednesday night, I went out to the brand new Pizza Ranch here in Baraboo, for their chicken and pizza buffet. I drove up in daylight at 1815, ate a leisurely dinner, while reading on line, and after finishing up with a root beer float, I left in total darkness at 1930.

    I was amused during the rains twice Wednesday. While driving out to supper, I have a 1953 DRAGNET on the CD player in the truck. Joe Friday and his partner were on their way to a crime, and Joe says, " Turn on the wipers, it's starting to rain ". As if on cue, the monsoon rains struck Baraboo. Later, I was writing a post for Facebook, and backspaced to correct a spelling error. As I hit DELETE, FLASH! BOOM!. It appears that I really deleted that lower case s.

  3. "...the signs, wow, they're all in English!"

    That sparked a flashback. I'd been at the Kun for a while, and finally had some time off. Exploring Korea so far had been limited to trips to Kunsan City and back. (The ORI had consumed most of our time, but that having been passed was in the past.) So, with some time on my hands, I decided to visit Seoul and see what there was to see. Bus to Kunsan City, Train to Seoul, Kimchi cab to my hotel in Downtown. Completely lost as far as cardinal directions go, but the staff at the Hotel gave me a map and oriented me somewhat. I'd asked what Places of Interest were within walking distance. They told me that Changdeokgung was nearby and worth a visit. So, with my trusty map and their directions I set out.

    While I never got officially "Lost", I did have several pitchbacks to the path of righteousness and finally made it to the Palace. By now, I'm inured to the lack of English on signs, I just don't expect English, so I'm not looking for the sign to have any information that I can use. Pay the admittance to the Palace and walk through the gate into a large garden there on my right is a white sign, I glance at it and my eyes are drawn to its message. It said, in English, "This Palace was renovated for the first time in 1492."

    I got a huge laugh at that and the subtlety of Korean humor.

  4. The August heat nearly did me in here in southern OK, and September has not been much better. I'm ready to move to Ecuador where the temps are very mild - no heaters or air conditioners needed. When we were in Quito, we toured through the Presidential Palace, but the guide only spoke Spanish. Since our Spanish was not nearly good enough to understand the guide, one fellow on the tour tried to help us understand. He repeated the guide in Spanish, but much slower with a few English words thrown in. It was very kind of the fellow, but very funny too. They eventually provided us with a young guide who was thrilled to practice his English with us.

    1. I see by the map that Quito is up in the mountains, I can imagine that the coastal plain is a mite hotter.

      I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle that southern OK heat.

      The Front Range in Colorado has pretty mild weather, the occasional big snow storm every couple of years, but the spring, summer, fall, and most of the winter are mild.

      The mountains of Ecuador look pretty nice.

  5. Thank you for the great post, as always.

    Paul L. Quandt

  6. Front Range. Don't like the weather? Wait a day.

  7. "Skip ahead..."
    Does my name have to come up every time a shortcut is mentioned?
    WTF, anyway!

    BTW - about the snow in Wyoming.
    I have a good friend who was born and raised in Laramie, so he knows.
    The official snowfall total is 0".
    The wind blows it in from elsewhere.

    He also told me you don't want to be ill after 6pm there because that's when all of the veterinarians offices close.

    1. I suppose I can't be cranky either? :)

      Love the line about the vets all closing at 6pm. I've heard that before in regards to Wyoming.

    2. I see what you did there.
      I imagine Joe will be amused.

  8. First day of Fall. Everything is still green & vibrant (especially the kudzu, but that's pretty constant). I think it was 92 or so today.
    I understand (well, not really, it's too crowded for me) and respect your love for your home, Sarge, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere but here.
    To each his own. That's diversity--you happy under your metaphorical (or not, considering all those plants I can't identify) fig tree, & me happy under mine, and both of us thanking the Master Builder for it all.
    --Tennessee Budd

    1. There is beauty in many places. I have friends who live out in the desert and wouldn't trade it for anything.

      Your sentiments about where you call home are understood. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to each his own.

      I am thankful for what I have and for where I am. I'm sure you are too, you certainly show pride in your home. And that's a great thing.

      Be well Tennessee Budd!

  9. Septober is just the weather we get in Southern California just about 9 months of the year. That's why 18 million people live here and real estate is freaking outrageously expensive.

    1. That's a pretty good way of describing it.

  10. You can slice and dice the calendar and come up with dozens of seasons. One of the most delightful (albeit occasionally vexing) aspects of living here on the High Plains is the way climate variability and weather variability combine to make each and every day different and unique.

    1. And we get to experience that through your photos and videos. Something I always enjoy.


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