Around and around the house the leaves fall thick—but never fast, for they come circling down with a dead lightness that is sombre and slow. Let the gardener sweep and sweep the turf as he will, and press the leaves into full barrows, and wheel them off, still they lie ankle-deep.
As the Northwest winds whip our usually temperate southern air into a frenzy, ushering in the first truly bitter cold temperatures of the season, the day is busily spent readying for Winter’s official, albeit a month early, arrival. Hoses are emptied and packed away, bird feeders are cleaned and refilled. All potted plants must be moved– especially the large potted fruit trees still bearing green fruit, all indoors to “safety”, as once again we prepare for another time of transition.
All sounds rather “Marthaesque”, as in that diva of DYI, but trust me, it is anything but as it is just me, myself and I who are/ is doing a frantic haphazard job of herding things here and there lest the freeze takes any prisoner tonight.
Today I sit on the edge of yet another birthday. I find myself breathing an inward sigh of neurotic relief as it appears that tomorrow I will have lived one year longer than my mother had as she had lost a battle with cancer 27 years ago at the age of 53. I think any child who ever loses a parent relatively early in life has a secret fear that theirs is to be the same fate—a paranoid fear of destiny and family health–adopted or not.
As we now find ourselves approaching the often dark dreary months of old man Winter, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling as if this time of year can be a bit disconcerting. Of course there are the holidays to look forward to—and I do count Thanksgiving as one of those special holidays. However our huge retail shopping giants, sadly do not. Those massive sultans of sale merely gloss over Thanksgiving using it as a simple measuring stick as when to open up the madness known as Black Friday, which this year is turning into Black Thursday.
How terribly sad it is that we barely take time, if at all, any longer to honor the founding of our nation. Reflecting on how far we have come since the disembarking at Plymouth Rock. No matter one’s nationality nor of the colorful melting soup pot we have become, America still harkens back to a group of wayward people who risked their very lives in order to settle and claim a new land as their own. Slowly our Nation’s official day of recognition and Thanksgiving has become but a mere blip on the radar as thoughts of sugar plums and shopping dance in our heads.
The holidays will usher in a whirlwind of activity of the be here and be there variety. The angst of family gatherings are already looming large in many people’s minds covering them with a thick blanket of dread. The juggling of spending time here and there, the family members who for good or bad, come calling, or worse, chose not to call; the sheer magnitude of the number of those who will flood the highways and the Nation’s airports, is almost enough to make many people scream a collective “no thank you”!!
We have a wedding, in this small family of ours in order to look forward to, as our son and his fiancé will say “I do” in June. There is a great deal to be done between now and then which will certainly keep all parties involved hopping. Perhaps it is always good to have something waiting in the wings in order to help one stay focused with the whole looking forward rather than backwards business, as is often the case during the bleaker months of the year.
As the “black dog” of a cold melancholy begins nipping at my heels. . . for all sorts of reasons, I will pull my jacket a bit tighter to ward off the chill, I will force myself out and about seeking the sun on the days it decides to visit and I will think of what will be rather than sadly what was, or was not, or has passed by.
Reflection is good and often offers comfort, but too much can be a bit heavy and oppressive, as in the dusty mothballesque scent of those blankets and winter coats that are just now emerging from the trunks and closets where they have lain dormant for these many months.
So here is to birthdays, remembrances, holidays, family, winter, and snow. For good or bad, it all comes, and for good and bad it all goes. . .