Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tropical “Autumn”

Seasons in Central America aren’t defined so much by the designations familiar to North Americans of “spring”, “summer”, “autumn”, and “winter” as much as they are by the descriptions “rainy” or “dry”. Likewise, there aren’t arbitrary dates to change the seasons. For example, the rainy season doesn’t begin on March 21st (the first day of spring)—it begins when it suddenly starts to rain 5-7 days a week, which is usually towards the end of April. This is hard for me to wrap my gringo brain around, as I desperately want to call late September through early December “Fall”. My favorite month in the States has always been October, and it made me a little sad to miss it for the first time.

Ah, October: when (at least in Texas and Oklahoma) you can leave the windows open all day and the A/C or heater off. The whole month feels like a vacation. Julie usually goes crazy making pumpkin-flavored treats, and you can use the slight crispness in the evening air as an excuse to build a fire or at least make some hot chocolate. Sometimes the leaves even change color before they die.

Here, you leave the windows open all day all year round, would never build a fire even if you had a fireplace, and if your trees are changing colors, they’ve got problems.

We are now coming to the end of the rainy season. October, which historically is the rainiest month of the year, actually saw less rain this year than the months before it, and now that we’re in November, we don’t see rain more than once a week (if that).

I couldn’t tell you the meteorological reasons for it, but we’re also enjoying some cooler weather. The humidity is down, and the temperature hasn’t been getting above 90—at night it may even get below 70. For locals who are used to it here, anything below 75 is cold! And we only have more to look forward to as December is usually cooler than November.

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