I had a delightful childhood, but growing up in the Arizona desert, I always felt like something was a bit...off. I remember reading Charlie Brown comics, watching him trudge through the snow, or jump into piles of leaves, and while I knew what such things were, I didn't really understand this whole changing of seasons thing.
This was compounded when, at the tender age of thirty-one, I moved to the East Coast, and realized that there was a whole world, common to most people, that I had never experienced. For example, I realized that people talked about the weather because, in most places, the weather... changes. A typical Arizona weatherman would say, "Today it was 95 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow expect it to be 97 degrees and sunny." This report would be in mid to late September. Here, the weather changes, sometimes two or three times a day. Imagine!
When I moved here, I realized that I did not know what the following things were: bulbs, mums, or mulch. I still can barely distinguish between a Maple, Willow, Sweet Gum Ball, or Birch tree. I don't know the difference between an azalea and a hosta. Going to the nursery is such a nerve-racking experience that I generally leave and go home to rock in the fetal position.
But, don't feel too sorry for me. I can tell you all about cactus. I even wrote a report about Arizona's state bird, the majestic Cactus Wren. I also know that while most of the world celebrates Valentine's Day, in my heart of hearts, it will always be AZ Statehood Day.
Here's why you really can't feel sorry for me. Today, while Owen and I were raking leaves, and he was delightedly running through the piles, and jumping into the leaves until all I could see was the tip of his orange hood, it was just as wonderous for me as it was for him.