Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Putting Summer Away

Well, the work over the last few days has centered around getting things ready for winter. It's always agreeable work for me, an opportunity to spend some time outside in the waning (hopefully) nice days of autumn. It's bending and stretching and carrying and storing, the kind of thing that doesn't seem so bad when you're doing it, but later in the day you're going "Shit, I'm sore!"

Like Cheryl Wheeler, I'm always a little sad to see summer go; 'course, it's been gone for long & long anyway, what with cooler weather (including frosts) and the hecticness that goes with kick-starting the school year. But increasingly sad reminders of the faded summer lurked: the grill still squatted in its corner of the deck, and the picnic table & benches still waited on the porch, maybe hoping for one last good cookout before being squirreled away for the winter. Alas, not so; I think the last barbeque day was way back in August, certainly before school started, and even IF we get a nice day in the next week or so, I'm low on Liquid Smoke and the thrill is gone for this year.

So the benches are stacked, the grill is rolled up next to the house. I cut down the shabby stalks of our volunteer sunflowers by the porch steps, whose brilliant late-blooming yellows filled sunny days with giddy happiness, drawing tumbly bumblebees by the dozen to buzz lazily and harmlessly among the giant blooms. Rozzle's crab-shaped sandbox, site of many happy summer outings (and more than a few scoldings, as Roz's favorite thing to do with the sand seems to be to throw it over her head) is staked & tied down, anticipating harsh winds that threaten to blow its protective cover across town. I harvested & froze the last of the rhubarb, now waiting in the inky blackness of the freezer for a Yule festival baking extravaganza. The withered greens of the frost-bitten pumpkin and tomato vines have been hacked away, with me stealing a last taste of reddish goodness as I spied a few remaining fruits cowering under protective mint leaves. (The mint, ever in competition with the tomatoes, grew ferociously this year, and now stands proudly alone in their shared plot, still green, still begging for a julep that will never come.)

I can look out the window and see the almost neon glow of the maples down the block, and I anticipate the coming of winter with a newfound sense of subtle desire. Come, snows! Come, cold! I am put away and ready for ye! Post-dinner walks to Cindy's for ice cream are replaced with Swiss Miss by the television, as I indoctrinate Roslyn with one tired old seasonal special after another: Peanuts and Garfield, Sesame Street and the Muppets and Emmett Otter, Opus and Bill and more marijuana-induced claymation than Rankin & Bass can shake a stick at. I've lighted my Yankee candles (Fall Festival, Spiced Pumpkin, and the ever-nostalgic Home Sweet Home), I've grown my ever-whitening beard in…I'm ready. Bring it.


Blogger Suze said...

beautifully written. bring it indeed!

3:20 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Do not bring it. Not for at least another month and a half.

Still, I, uh, admire your good attitude about the changing of the seasons. I have not yet learned that whining and wailing does not prevent snow.

10:19 AM  
Blogger sdb said...

I'm right with you. I love the Fall for the change, the weather, the time to catch up and be reminded of why I love Michigan.

8:25 AM  

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