Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Oh, how quickly go the seasons! They say Beijing has a very short autumn, but I don't agree. Actually, it depends on what kind of summer you have and what kind of winter you have. If the summer fever breaks the first part of September, and the coming winter is reasonably mild, then the fall season at least seems like it drags on for almost four months. But easily three months. But if September is a hot month and winter comes a little early, then autumn can seem pretty short.

The real problem is that there are four seasons in a year, and only twelve months. So simple math tells you that the average length of a season is going to be three months. That's not very long. Goes pretty fast. Late fall seems a little depressing until you get used to it, and especially as you begin to appreciate the beauty of winter, which you could never have if autumn lasted forever. I guess this is why I like a four-season climate.

As you may know if you are familiar with China, one of the left over practices from the Maoist era is the assumption that public buildings in the northern part of China should be equipped with hot water radiators. So winter in Beijing is quite comfortable (inside). South China is very different. Cold outside and cold inside. In the far south, it is actually warmer outside than inside. But in Beijing, the inside temperature is usually quite pleasant. The only time of the year that is a little uncomfortable is the first part of November, because the tradition says that the heat doesn't need to come on until the middle of November, and sometimes the first part of the month can be a little chilly. But once the heat comes on, most places keep the boiler stoked with plenty of coal.

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