So last evening we were walking innocently home from our final walk of the night, when we turned the corner toward our house and saw THIS:
I stopped dead in my tracks and moaned.
“What’s wrong?” Jim asked, obviously not having noticed what I had.
“Look,” I replied, pointing skyward.
“Oh wow,” he responded with deep resignation. “I can’t believe it’s happening already."
Neither of us know enough science to understand the process which trigger sthe color change in our local foliage. We’ve had an unusually cool summer, and the past few days have been almost chilly - we had each pulled on a sweater before we set out with the dogs last night - so perhaps that’s one reason for this crimson frosting.
I LOVE the fall colors, they are simply breathtaking here. If asked, I always say that autumn is my favorite season. It means cool refreshing walks with crunchy leaves underfoot, cozy evenings in front of the fireplace, savory soups and stews in the crockpot, soft and cuddly sweaters. It means I can wear my black leather boots again, and I feel very cool wearing black leather boots.
But oh, what follows autumn is so very hard.
We are shell shocked from the past two winters here. Excessive snowfalls, extreme cold, chronic sickness - honestly, there were days when it felt like a plague. By the end of April, I was exhausted and disheartened after months of consistent bombardment with cold and icy air.
I have seen predictions of another excessively harsh winter for those of us in the east and midwest. I try not to give too much credence to those predictions, try not to give in to the despair and I can feel creeping up on me. I learned some lessons last winter, lessons I hope will stand me in good stead whatever the weather brings. I learned to cut myself some slack in terms of activity and expectations, to find ways to make life easier and the need for trips outdoors less pressing. I learned that I need to keep the home fires burning in terms of maintaining my daily routine, preserving and enriching the connection between Jim and I. I learned I must find activities and events that lift my/our spirits - fellowship with friends, getting out to movies or concerts when the weather permits, getting away to a warmer climate even if it’s only for a few days.
I will be wary and watchful over my heart and spirit this winter. I will be tender with myself, knowing I need extra warmth and care when the cold winds of winter blow.
In the meantime, I will store up reserves of beauty as the birds and squirrels store food for their winter to come. I will savor the bright brilliance of autumn, the sensory pleasures of its color and climate. I will give in to my love for fall in all its glory, and not taint its beauty with the specter of winter to come.
How about you? How are you falling into fall and preparing for the winter ahead?