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They lied to us in pre-kindergarten. They told us, and put up little colorful cartoon posters on the walls explaining to us, that every year had four seasons. The seasons were a cycle, they said, and each was about equal length. And we, being young and stupid, believed them. And we kept believing it, too; many of us continued, in our mind, to partition the single long season we lived through into equally spaced chunks, thinking it is now winter or It is now spring, too busy with our lives to stop and question If it's winter, then why isn't it colder than it was in July? or What is the difference between spring and summer, exactly?. Many let the illusion continue well into their adolescence.

But for some of us, eventually, the lie rotted away, the truth shone through, and we came to the simple pure knowledge that besides the fact that it has more auto accident deaths and more pollution than any other city in the U.S., Houston also has the interesting quality of having only one season for the entire year.

I do remember, dimly, though, that a long long time ago, when i was a child, there were two, maybe three seasons; that at one time there was a winter, and something somewhat fall-ish in the opening transition between the two. It wasn't enough of an autumn to deserve a separate name, but leaves did actually turn a different color and fall off the trees, and then it became cold. We even owned, and wore, jackets. This does not happen anymore. But dulled memories of this time may be why so many still cling to the belief that other seasons exist.

Because interestingly, most of the most mature people who live in Houston are still in denial about all this; refusing to admit their world's deficiency of variety, they choose to apply the title "winter" to the first cold front that comes through after mid-december, thus enabling them to claim that they get two seasons.

It isn't winter, though. It's just a cold front.

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