I turned the heat on the other night. I wasn't proud of it, but unexpected cold temperatures and a rainy day made me want to hibernate under a blanket with hot chocolate and a years supply of books and magazines (or, even better, Project Runway and Design Star on the television). I wasn't ready for the cold. My flip-flops were still by the door, and my skin was still brown from too many days without SPF700.
But, here it is, Fall, Autumn, whatever you like to call it, attacking us with no warning in mid-September. Temperatures that soared up to a 100 Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) a week or two ago, have now plummeted to around 50 Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) at night.The annual flowers are struggling, and this morning I watched my daughter walk to school on frost-bitten grass. Sneakers soaked, she was happy to kick at the wet ground seeing the patterns that they made.
Here, where I live, the seasons are very defined. I find myself looking forward to the next one just as I get tired of the one that I am in. But, no matter how many time it happens, it always takes me a while to transition. For several weeks I demonstrate confusion; a coat with a summer skirt or flip-flops in the rain. I often feel displaced and unhappy that I have to adjust my lifestyle once again to follow the changing weather patterns.
When I look outside I see that the world is so much more organized than I am. Weeks ago, I noticed squirrels with acorns and chestnuts in their mouths, deer eating the plants as if it could be their last meal; they had a purpose, they were getting ready, they know that Winter is not far away, they know what they are supposed to do.
My garden has that worn look that tells me it is tired and ready to be pruned; the weeds are in full glory, and the roses are loving the colder weather that lets them bloom more brightly and longer than usual (no surprise that the English-grown roses are far more beautiful than mine).
When I look at the garden, and the natural evolution of the seasons, I wonder at myself. Why does it take me so long to accept the reality of the seasons? Is it denial, a resistance to change, or is it just a blind optimism that things go on forever? Regardless, it is here and I being pushed to embrace the colder weather.
We carved pumpkins the other day. Early, I know, but my goddaughter is staying with us, and she had never carved one before. When we had finished, we put candles inside them and placed them on the step to be admired. Despite my initial reluctance, it was a welcome shot of color in my nearly spent garden. Looking at them made me happy. I instantly found myself glad for a new excuse to redecorate the front of the house; ideas were forming in my head, and I wanted to go outside at that moment to see what I could do to make it look pretty for the next couple of months.
Inside my house, I am making it feel more cozy; swapping bowls of shells for buttons, and layering quilts and blankets wherever someone may want to sit and put their feet up. Tomorrow I'll prune the plants and move my favorite geraniums in from the sun-room. I'll get the snow-blower checked and stock up on salt for those icy days. Try on Winter coats, hats and boots. Drink hot cider and eat apples (or maybe just apple donuts).
Admire the organization of the squirrel...