Bill Moeller Commentary: Seasonal Contemplations of an Elderly Columnist


I was just thinking about spring. It’s still a ways off but some signs are appearing. 

Weeds are certainly poking their heads out already, primroses are appearing and, depending on the moment you pick to go outside, you can encounter sun, rain, wind (for sure) and even snow. 

It won't be long until we'll be seeing daffodils and camellia buds showing up and soon, pansies will show us why we planted them last fall as the rhodies begin to burst their bulbs. 

My only sour note in this scheme of things is that my two favorite seasons, spring and fall, also seem to be the shortest ones in their duration. Why do we have to label the season by the calendar instead of by their actual length? 

But, then again, the way our weather patterns are going, who knows what season we're in?

When asked to name their single most favorite season of the year, most — myself included — will say fall. Paradoxically, though, fall could be considered the saddest time of the year. 

Fall has the feeling of "what might have been." 

We can think of it as nature's midlife crisis. 

We are reminded of all that we haven't done when we had the chance, what garden projects we didn't get around to or the time we could have spent with our family, but didn't. 

Yet, we love it nonetheless. 

By all rights, summer in the Pacific Northwest should be our favorite season. 

Temperatures are, or used to be, comfortable and our reputation for a soggy stepchild of the nation is only a myth during our summers. 

A good example is the fact that the roof at Safeco Field is seldom closed during summer baseball games. 

I have maintained that, while we may not have as many nice days as some parts of our country, our nice days are far better than any other part of the country. 

Winter is plainly good for nothing, unless you're a skier — but it has its moments. It's a time to check those books out of the library that you've been wanting to read, to plan what changes you want to make in the garden this year and to leisurely browse through enticing seed and plant catalogs that seem to accumulate at this time of year. 

But I digress. 

To a gardener, spring is a mixed blessing. We look at the garden and we can't understand how the weeds managed to grow so rapidly when everything else was dead or dormant.

If you have a tiny greenhouse, as I do, about now you will invariably yield to the temptation of trying to start seeds far earlier than you should and will wind up purchasing and replanting their successors in April or May. 

Back in the 19th century, in a book called "Tom Sawyer, Detective," Mark Twain had Huckleberry Finn describe what it's like for a young boy to catch spring fever. It's about the same for old men, too. 

“Don't you know what that is? It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want — oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer; you want to go wandering far away to strange countries where everything is mysterious and wonderful and romantic. And if you can't do that, you'll put up with considerably less; you'll go anywhere you can go, just so as to get away, and be thankful of the chance, too.”


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at