We unwittingly associate images, emotions, expectations, and hopes with all sorts of stimuli. Not the least of these stimuli are seasons. Winter: White Christmas, snow, hot chocolate. Spring: flowers in blossom, gardens, rain. Summer: heat, long days, camping. Fall: Autumnal colors, pumpkins, bonfires. Images and remembrances come to mind with no conscious effort based on the calendar, the weather, or other seasonal cues.
In Colombia, we frequently find ourselves searching to verify the current month, or wondering what sports season family and friends may be camped in front of the television to watch. Here in El País de la Eterna Primavera – The Land of Eternal Spring – seasonal cues are few. Fruits and vegetables that in North American appear only seasonally – and many that never appear at all – enjoy a twelve-month growing season. This is the primary reason that Colombia is the second leading world exporter of flowers. Trees, flowers, fruits and vegetables that you may be accustomed to blooming once per year, blossom, are harvested, and die off, only to re-blossom again weeks later in an ongoing cycle.
Don’t get me wrong; this eternal spring is one of the things that makes Colombia so attractive. Constantly renewing and alternating colors, new growth, with fruits and vegetables year round provide a paradise-like environment. But keeping track of relevant events stateside becomes an issue. Here we are days before the Christmas holiday, and were it not for the wrapping tinsel on the table, or the gaudy commercial decorations, and the propensity to decorate every inch of each home’s facade, there are few reminders in the air. No “Jack Frost nipping at your nose”, no “folks dressed up like Eskimos”, no dreaming of a white Christmas.
Last week, while on a picnic, the kids sledding were doing so on sheets of cardboard down grassy knolls. When I call family stateside, it’s often difficult to come up with a more relevant sports question than, “So, what season IS it?” No frosty nights to remind one of NFL playoffs, no hot summer days beckoning one to the baseball field. No seasonal clues to forewarn of impending birthdays or events.
I am reminded of our personal goal to live life in the moment; whenever that moment may be. With a lack of subconscious cues, we find expectations of the calendar fading. What remains are the people and circumstances of the moment.
So… here we are, living in the moment in el País de la Eterna Primavera. ¡Salud!