Seasons in Hilo
Monday Musings from Melinda by LHS Contributor Melinda M.
- Date of event: 9/12/16
- Time: 6:25p
- Place: in the car, driving my daughter to Tahitian dance practice
Me: “Wow, it’s already starting to get dark earlier. It’s getting too dark to go walking while I wait for you.”
Daughter: “Yup. It’s almost winter.”
Fall hasn’t even started yet! Why is she skipping ahead to winter already?!
“Well, fall is like really short. Summer and winter are really long.”
Um…you know all the seasons are exactly the same length, right?
“Nope. Fall and spring are like really short.”
And so it goes in Hawaii. Where are fall and spring? Traditionally, seasons here were noted as “wet” and “dry” which corresponded to winter and summer. So how do we mark the passing of four seasons when temperatures and even daylight is relatively constant and when our school year starts very much in the dog days of summer, around August 1?
One of the ways I know summer is on its way is the pungent smell of mangoes and lychee at the farmer’s market. The availability of white pineapple, too. That special, sugary treat is an August special and possibly only found in Hilo. Once lychee starts to disappear but before rambutan populates the stalls, it’s probably fall. It does start to rain a little more and darkness does start to fall a little earlier, at around 6:30. But my main signal that it’s fall is what’s on tv (new shows, football) and in the stores (scarves, more jeans, light sweaters).
Yes, even though we’re in Hawaii and need shorts and tees all year round we are beholden to mainland department stores that do not sell those items year-round.
Then, of course, there’s the appearance of Halloween candy.
It seems like every year that gets put on display earlier and earlier and I have to check my calendar: what? it’s that time already?
Winter creeps up on us slowly and definitely before its official start. Halloween already feels like winter – getting dark at 5:00-ish and rainier and rainier. When I’m driving in 5pm traffic in the dark and in the rain, it feels like Christmas. Our nights get a little cooler, but watching football being played in the snow on tv even though the sun is shining out my window always throws me – like, why is it snowing there? Oh yeah, it’s January…!
Like my daughter noted, spring is a little harder to discern. We usually take our cues by the merchandise in the stores – we can buy shorts and tees again! – and what we see on tv. Then there’s spring break which then turns on the light at the end of the school year tunnel.
Since school gets out around Memorial Day, when it’s still technically spring, that milestone, as all of you know, definitely signals that it’s summer! So confusing!