In the Future: Seasons of Change

In half the world it’s turning from fall into winter and in the other half it’s getting ready for the furnace blast of summer. The seasons have been a vital part of being human since long before we began recording what it’s like to be the odd creatures that we are. Our lives are marked and measured by the changes—drastic or subtle—that are made by the turning of the Earth around the Sun.

What happens when we leave Earth behind? Surely we’ll take our traditions with us, but what about the seasons? Life on other planets makes sense, we’ll adapt to the new seasons of each world. Maybe instead of Spring, it’ll be Violet, when everything blooms with a thin layer of purple algae. Or we’ll get used to waking one day to everything frozen solid and spend our Neo-Winters weaving in and out of frozen sheets and pillars of the last storm to hit before an immensely powerful alien Jack Frost arrived.

Life on space stations and colonies would be difficult and monotonous after a while. We can’t help but think our animal selves—our lizard brains, if you will—wouldn’t start to panic or suffer in an environment in which the quality of light never changes, the temperature never wavers. Space stations, especially agricultural ones, will no doubt come up with ways to cope with this. Some way to mark the passing months and days seems like a necessity and Earth plants grow best when there’s a rhythm of hot and cold, freeze and thaw.

Perhaps even long-distance vessels will have their own seasons, artificial or natural. Maybe some ship will have trouble with its temperature controls and there’ll be two weeks when everyone is going around in tank tops and short pants, always a little sweaty, with the lights set low to conserve energy, and when it’s over, everyone kind of misses it so they do it again on purpose—then another time they turn up the lights and shorten the night cycle and turn down the temperature. It’s brisk and busy and cheerful, people give each other sweaters and knit scarves and fingerless gloves are in fashion.

Eventually, every ship might adopt its own seasons and, when you change assignments, you learn the new way of things and everyone admires the cunning style of hat your old shipmates all wore when it was a cold cycle. Some clever engineer will of course work out how to use the fire control system and the main hall to make a traditional Earth slip-and-slide.

We may leave our planet behind but it’s made us what we are. If humans go into space, even if they never see Earth again, we doubt they’ll lose the habit of having seasons for a very long time.



  1. Sweet post, Dianne. Poetic thoughts. It’s something we don’t think much about–how we’re biologically attuned to external natural cycles–tidal, temperature, wet/dry. I wonder if we would adapt to a completely unchanging environment, or if it would make us collectively buggo. Volunteers, anyone?

  2. Anah is the one responsible for the poetic turns of phrase here. I posted this one because it was convenient, but she did the bulk of the writing. 🙂

    I absolutely agree, though, that most of our attention to seasonal cycles is about our day-to-day lives and not so much about their overall effect on our bodies and minds. I don’t know how an unchanging environment would affect us—even the most extreme climates still have seasonal shifts and changing weather, like the Arctic’s shortened and lengthened days.

    Definitely food for thought!

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