The Four Seasons Revisited

Ithaca isn’t actually awful all of the time.  And we do really have fall and spring.  [Of course, shortly after I wrote that, we had a day of temperatures in the high 70s (in Fahrenheit) immediately followed by a day that started out with rain that turned into hail/sleet that turned into snow. . . . Incidentally, that sounds a lot like post-winter.]

Anyway, I’m going to pretend it’s not 23°F outside and that it’s not snowing and that the weather is occasionally not terrible.

In fact, sometimes it’s even nice enough to do things like go hiking (though I would like to try winter hiking some time).  The following picture from last fall proves that the leaves on the deciduous trees in Ithaca do lose their chlorophyll* around October and that is indeed sun in the upper right corner.

Hiking at Buttermilk Falls

I know I’ve already posted the next picture (and, actually, the one above . . . multiple times), but last semester there were a couple of the best sunsets I have ever seen.  Here’s one of them:

And I looked for a picture of spring in Ithaca, but all my pictures from this semester either have 1) snow, 2) a grey sky, or 3) both, so I had to find a picture from last year.  AAIV (the Christian fellowship I participate in) had an event at a nearby state park and the weather was fantastic.  In fact, some people may even have thought it was too hot.  But seriously, I would take too hot over the snow that’s currently flying past my window.

Treman State Park

To finish this post, my freshman year, I would frequently walk past the lake on North Campus to get to class.  I decided to create a series of photos that can be appropriately called “The Four Seasons.”

*The loss of chlorophyll, a green pigment, allows the red/orange/yellow pigments, which are present in lesser amounts than chlorophyll, to be seen during fall.  This is the phenomenon known colloquially as the leaves “changing colors,” i.e., normal people don’t usually see yellow leaves and think “chlorophyll loss.”

The Four Seasons

Now that Ithaca finally seems to be moving past winter, I thought I would celebrate by doing a photographic representation of the four seasons of Cornell.

When the academic year starts, Cornell is experiencing the season known as pre-winter.  Pre-winter is characterized by grey skies and rain.  Somewhere in the middle of pre-winter there will be a week of nonstop rain.


As fall semester winds down, the next season, winter, approaches.  In winter, temperatures at Cornell drop well below freezing, with windchills in the negative region of the Fahrenheit temperature scale.  There is also snow, accumulation of which can range from dustings to over a foot, and the sky is grey in winter.


After returning from winter break, Cornell students endure more winter until about early/mid-March, when post-winter begins.  Post-winter can be recognized by its grey skies and absurd weather, which includes rain that turns into sleet that turns into hail that turns into snow, all within four hours or so.


The last season, summer, arrives shortly after spring semester finals end.  Summer lasts until shortly before fall semester starts.  I seem to be unable to locate a picture of this elusive season.

The Finals Countdown

I have actually been done taking finals since last Friday, but I have one last assignment to complete before I can leave for break.  In the meantime, I’ve been going bouldering, baking, making Star Wars snowflakes, wandering aimlessly around campus . . . in short, everything I haven’t had time to do this semester.

We’ve had a fair amount of snow accumulation, about half a foot or so over three or four days.  Yesterday it snowed again.  Today it’s almost 40 degrees outside.  Whatever, Ithaca.

The engineering quad last weekend.

The slope this morning (first blue sky in a week)

I attempted unsupervised baking for the first time last week, which involved a total of four ingredients, one of which was water.  The other three were flour, butter, and cheese.  I had to hand grate the cheese.  Using a peeler.  Last night I expanded my ingredients list to include sugar, cinnamon, and apples, and made mini apple pies in my muffin tin with a friend.

And the other day I spent one and a half hours cutting out a Star Wars snowflake.  It was completely worth the time and effort.

Given that this is a Star Wars snowflake, what is it a snowflake of?  Do not say a house.

Credit to for the pattern

When I first came to Cornell last year, seniors were telling me how each semester goes by faster than the last.   It was just one of those things that they said, and I’d go, “Yeah, sure, and when am I going to be done with my writing seminar?”  Well, so far it’s true.  I wouldn’t say my first semester dragged on forever (obviously it didn’t last forever) but compared to the past four months, it was long.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve been at Cornell for another semester, but I guess I have.  And it was busy.  It was crazy.  But it was also a whole lot of fun.

So I guess I’m saying that you can – and should – enjoy college (yes, even if you are an engineer).  Happy holidays, everyone!  Don’t worry, I will be back.