Like most people, I’ve got relatives who retired to Florida. They rave about how its always “sunny and 75” and how they can drink margaritas on the beach in the middle of January. On the other hand, there’s a saying in Missouri, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes and it’ll change.” A 75 degree weekend can give way to a 20 degree Monday (like last week). It can rain for weeks straight like in December of 2015 (pictures below) or a storm can roll through in 15 minutes giving way to sunny clear skies. Let’s just say, the weather is all over the place. Therefore, while sunbathing with their pina coladas, my relatives often wonder how I can stand the cold, clouds, and rain of a chaotic Missouri winter.
My answer is simple, without the dreary cloudy cold days, I wouldn’t appreciate the warm and sunny days. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but its true. When I’m in Florida I know it’ll be sunny and beautiful tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. So, why should I go to the beach now? It will still be there tomorrow after all. The consistent good weather brings no sense of urgency as I can always enjoy it at a more convenient time. Missouri just isn’t like that. If it’s sunny and warm, you better go out and enjoy it on the spot, because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Today was one of those rare days in February both sunny and relatively warm (45F) so I simply had to go out and enjoy it, regardless that it’s Wednesday and I have an exam on Friday. Carpe Diem.
This brings me to talking about my city. St. Louis is blessed with a multitude of free stuff-to-do. It has a park even larger than central park and designed by the same guy, an awesome free zoo, a number of free museums, and several smaller parks well worth visiting as well. It is also home to the Missouri Botanical Garden, but as it is private, the garden isn’t always free. For residents like me, the garden is free certain hours on Wednesday and Saturday and is always 50% off what they charge non-city-residents. I’m also lucky in that my family has a membership so I can go for free any time and bring a guest.
Anyway, I decided it was a beautiful day and walked the garden. Walking is, after all, one of the healthiest pastimes and certainly doesn’t break the bank. A neuro-science professor once told me that a walk in the woods for at least an hour a week was shown to reduce symptoms of psychological disorders like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia – I’m not sure how much proof he had, but I like his thinking. So I took my “therapeutic” walk through The Garden and discovered that the witch hazel (pictured above) was blooming in the woodland garden with a floral honey-like scent. I’m a big fan of witch hazel as I use it’s extract to help get rid of acne, but never knew it bloomed. With such bright color and sweet scent in the dead of winter, it’ll definitely have a place in my garden when I get the chance to plant one.
All in all, I think its important to enjoy events, especially fleeting ones like a party or a sunny day because although as students we often see our “grown-up life” starting when we get into the workforce, the best times of our lives are right now and these times will form the memories and stories that we tell way down the road.