I give you this week’s column with many thanks to David for the poem I use at the end:
Do you do this at your house? I try to not officially turn the heat on until I absolutely have to. I dress in layers. I keep the oven door open after baking or roasting something until the heat finally dissipates into the air, warming the house up momentarily. I turn on all the lights in the living room because light bulbs generate some heat. But when it gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or around 8 or 9 centigrade, I throw in the towel. It is then time to turn on the heat. Officially. There is no getting around it.
I guess turning the heat on means that the cold season is upon us. There is a bit of defeat in the process. You have given up—you know that warm fall weather is now hit or miss, and though there are times you do not need artificial warming up, those days are numbered. I now understand those of you, who unlike me, do not like fall because of what it foreshadows. For a while we can live in denial—layering on sweaters and pulling the sleeves over our hands, but it is inevitable—we are going to have to don hats and coats and gloves.
Last Saturday morning, I acquiesced and put on my ski jacket, gloves, and head warmer for my daily walk. My walking partner and I made it to the last day of the outside Farmers’ Market. The vendors were bundled up and offered a small pamphlet to all who bought their wares telling us that they would be in the Lion’s Hall next week, out of the cold and into the warmth. Teeth chattering we accepted the news with relief.
With Thanksgiving over, and Halloween almost upon us—we know that the beautiful autumn leaves will soon become another task to check off our to-do lists. They may flutter oh-so-gracefully to the ground, but as with most good things, the good times come to an end. Already I hear lawn mowers mulching, leaf blowers blowing, and the scrunch, scrunch, scrunch of rakes gathering the leaves into piles.
The day after Thanksgiving, I decorated my house for Halloween. This entailed turning around one of my ceramic pumpkins (his painted on face was against the wall) to no longer hide his toothy Halloween grin. I found a Halloween candle and placed it in its customary location, and voila, my decorating was done. You should know that I decorate my house quite festively for fall, so these little touches were added to my numerous pumpkins and other fall décor. While I am a fanatic for fall, I am not as fond of Halloween.
If truth be told, I would bypass Halloween altogether if it were not for those little bite sized chocolate bars, and the cute little gremlins, princes and princesses who come to my door on what I call the dark night of the soul, and most other people refer to as fun. I have purchased my candy for Hallows Eve already, and so far have only eaten two tiny bars. There are still a few days left for the other 88 to survive. I generally cannot see into the future, but I am pretty sure I will be making another trip out for some more treats.
Mid-October is a magical time for me. The changing of the seasons. The crisp air. The aura of Halloween. I cannot quite put my finger on it—but it seems to carry an air of mystery, intrigue, and foretelling of a future as yet unknown.
“If I Were a Bird…” by George Eliot sums up what autumn means to me:
Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love –
that makes life and nature harmonise.
The birds are consulting about their migrations;
the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air,
while they give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.