Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Tuesday's Reflection: Fall Days
Minnesotans are known for saying, "Enjoy these days while you can because winter is just around the corner." You hear that statement or similar ones not only in the fall months, but on a gorgeous summer day, someone is bound to bring up winter. "Just you wait," someone will warn. Then in the middle of winter, if we get a warmer than usual day or two, someone will always point out how we will be punished for the blip in the temperatures. I don't know if that is a Midwestern thing or a Scandinavian thing, since so many of us have that background, but we always seem to have one eye on the creeping, approach of winter. October may be the month of ghosts and goblins, but watch out--for winter comes disguised as fall. So get out there and enjoy it--that's an order!!!
That's just what I have been doing. This weekend we spent an afternoon at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, along with everyone else it seemed, but the hordes of people did not detract from the glory of the day. The display of pumpkins and gourds satisfied the love affair I have with those fall fruits, although the scarecrows scattered in the gardens did not do their job--being more of a welcoming presence than a deterrent to garden thieves. The annual flower beds had been cleared, but we barely noticed the bareness as we were showered by a pirate's treasure chest of gold coins--leaf after leaf floating around us, fluttering in the breeze. The herb garden after the first frost had lost much of its vitality, but you could see what it had been, remnants of its youth. Even at the end of their useful days, there was beauty in the fading colors and withered shapes. I find hope in that.
Sunday afternoon I wrapped myself in a shawl and headed to our side garden for some reading time in the sun. Just like all the doomsayers in our midst, I told myself I better do this one more time before winter forbids such luxury. As I shook the leaves off the cushion, I realized I had not enjoyed this outdoor space enough. How many excuses there were--it's too hot or too buggy or I think I will take a walk instead, or I will have more time for that tomorrow. Fall can become a season of regrets. I think about what I could have done, should have done and wonder how I am possibly going to do everything I want to do in the time remaining. I sit with that question often these days, the fall of my life.
Yesterday I drove to a town in Wisconsin about 90 minutes away from here to meet two long time friends. Only a week ago I had driven that same route, a familiar, often-traveled highway, but how different it seemed yesterday--so much change in one week. Where were those reds last week? The day was grey and overcast, and I occasionally needed to turn on the windshield wipers, but I was grateful for the misty moistness which allowed me to adjust to the intensity of the color.
I eased into the red. Many years ago I had a stunning red hat and when I wore it, I would always get compliments from total strangers. I was noticed in a way I was not used to and not completely comfortable with. I decided to prepare myself for the attention by wearing the hat at home for awhile before leaving the house. The wispy veil over the reds yesterday seemed to be a practice session, too--just wait till you see us in all our splendor.
The eagle I saw standing guard in an almost empty tree punctuated the day. Now is the time. Don't miss this. Don't wait. If not now, when?
The squirrel who chattered at me while I sat in the garden the other day knows the importance of the present. He had nuts to gather. "Time is a wasting," he seemed to say, scolding me for being in his way. He proved his point, I discovered the next morning when I opened the front door and saw the damage he had done--I know it was him--on one of our pumpkins. Oh well.
Today is that day, I announce to the eagle and the squirrel and the leaves coating the front yard. Sun is promised, and we are going on a fall color tour with friends along the St Croix River. Such a senior citizen thing to do!!! Aren't we lucky, and besides, winter is just around the corner!
How are you living in these fall days? What are you uncovering as the leaves fall? What does fall moving into winter mean to you? I would love to know.