In recent years, I have used my own markers to figure out when the seasons were changing.
When I lived in Chicago, I considered it to officially be winter when I would wake up and feel the cold in my bones. I'm not talking about a momentary sensation, but rather walking around and feeling cold in your bones that you cannot shake. When I felt that and caught myself wondering if I'd ever be warm again, I considered it the first day of winter in Chicago. When the cars of people I know started breaking down (During winter 2004/2005, I had to hold one of our car doors shut as we drove because the lock stopped working after a particularly cold night!), it was officially the dead of winter in Chicago.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've started seeing little signs that spring is coming in St. Louis. Now, when I get up and leave my house before six to work the opening shift at my job, there is actually a little bit of sunlight out. It's just a little hint--the sky is still dark blue--but nonetheless, there is a little light. There is evidence that the sun is going to rise, and my solo walk is a little less nerve wracking with that much more light out.
I'm not sure, but I think spring is almost, almost here because I just experienced another telltale sign: An ice cream van drove past my house, playing its song loudly, for the first time this year!
When I see the magnolias flowering and see all the tiny white butterflies flying everywhere, I will know for sure what season it is.