A new Earth Day connection and appreciating season changes

Earth Illustration by Carmen Gloria
* Thoughts on the season changes and connecting with Earth on Earth Day

As some of you know, I’m American, born in New York, but also a Puertorican, so of  Spanish/Latin descent. We moved to Puerto Rico when I was ten years old and I have been fluent in both English and Spanish my entire life. In New York we had seasons. In Puerto Rico, not so much. It is hot and humid the entire year in Puerto Rico. Then I joined the U.S. Army at 17 years old and was in season-changing places (Germany, South Korea, Alabama and Washington, D.C.). 

For the past 15 years I lived in sunny Hollywood, California and it is by far the best weather I have experienced, but there are no season changes, so to some, it is boring. It’s always summer, or at least ‘summery.’ It gets cooler in the winter months, but pretty much, it’s this lovely eternal spring weather. I was used to that and I love heat and the sun. Plus I love not having to wear endless layers of clothes to stay warm. 

Yet here I am, living in Norway for the past 1 1/2 year, and it is definitely a season-changing country. We are so far up north on the globe that we get darkness most of the day and of course at night in the winter months. The winter months are long, or at least they feel long. The cold begins October/November and lasts through May. Right now we are leaning towards end of April and it’s still only 11 degrees Celsius here on Easter Sunday. That’s only 51.8 degrees Farenheight. At least we have Sun, which makes it ‘feel’ warmer. But if you don’t have layers, it’s cold. 

My second year here has made me appreciate the weather, the seasons and even planet Earth more. There is something personal about each season, a mood, that makes me more aware and enhances my senses. I was definitely internal and darker in the winter months. A bit anti-social and a bit hibernated. For the past week here in Norway the sun has finally been shining an entire week and all of the birds are chirping and loving life right now. I am in a brighter mood too. We had been looking forward to the spring and finally, it feels like it’s getting here!

Hageland in Tønsberg
Hageland in Tønsberg

On Saturday before Easter I told my husband I wanted to plant a tree. I was thinking an apple tree, because they do pretty well in Norway. We went to the cutest local gardening store, Hageland in Tønsberg (one of my new favorite places), and we started looking at baby trees. There were several types of apple trees, then we saw plum trees, and then we landed on the Morello sweet cherry trees. My husband’s face lit up. He started talking about how his grandfather used to sit under a huge Morello tree in his back yard and listen to the radio or read, in the lovely town of Lærdal, Norway, where my husband’s mother grew up. I said, “then we have to get a Morello tree!” And so we did. We picked out the cutest baby tree and named her Io, inspired by Greek mythology; the woman Zeus loved and turned into the most beautiful white cow. Coincidentally Morello tree flowers are white and are known to be extremely beautiful.

Planting a tree on Earth Day

We planted our first tree together and then we continued cleaning and fixing up our yard. I’ve become a reluctant gardener. I’ve always lived in apartments, so for the first time, I have a yard. This house came with a huge rose-bush in front of the house against the front wall, and a small floral garden on one side. Last year the rose bush had grown too much and had some weird fungus on some of its leaves. I kept reading and researching on how to take care of it and just cut the rose bush as short as possible to allow it to grow fresh again this year. I’ve discovered roses are one of the toughest flowers to maintain, but I’m happy to do it. I hope it’s healthy this year. We’ll see. It does make me happy to see our first flower bloom!!! 🙂

Earth Day first bloom
Our first flower blooming

There is something about working on your own yard, your own dirt, planting and growing, that feels good and as one with Earth. Now I feel an even bigger connection celebrating on Earth Day. I’m so excited about our new tree, I keep peeking out the window every time I go to the kitchen just to look at it. It makes me smile.

For those of you who celebrate the holiday, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend and Happy Earth Day! 

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CARMEN GLORIA PÉREZ was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, now a veteran, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Politics from George Mason University. She is a member of SCBWI, SAG/AFTRA & The American Legion, and is a writer, artist, award-winning actress, short film producer/writer/director, and even co-wrote 2 songs in the Billboard Dance and UK Pop charts. After moving to Norway in 2017, she has been writing and published her children's book Kid Astronomy series with Uncommon Grammar. Carmen is also recurring as Sofia in the Norwegian TV series "Det Kunne Vært Verre" via TV Norge, currently on its second season.
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