The Last Hurrah

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.

Published in: on October 21, 2014 at 2:53 pm  Comments (32)  

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32 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful – including the little chocolate bars..

  2. Lovely descriptions, I could almost feel the cold and hear the crunching of Autumn leaves. 🙂

    • thank you – long time no see

      • Here on holiday I have a bit more time! Lovely to catch up on some of your posts but my comment on Thanksgiving seemed to get lost! Just wanted to say,Happy Thanksgiving and that we will be having our firs ever here in Atlanta when we return to my brother ans SIL

      • Happy first ever Thanksgiving!

      • And SIL at the end of the month when they are going to do it specially for us a bit early. family rules ok! 🙂

  3. I usually enjoy autumn weather, but this year it has rained so much that I am not enjoying it at all. It rained here all summer long and is continuing into the fall. At this point I am almost looking forward to snow just to see less rain. There has been no raking leaves into piles and kids jumping into them here. With luck, it might happen yet.

    • a little rain is nice; a lot is depressing–here is hoping that you get some bone fide fall weather before the snow flies

  4. Darn!! You had to remind me about that box of mini chocolate bars that I hid in the basement for Halloween! I am trying to diet you know :). We have a goal every year to hold off on turning on the furnace until October, and we succeeded again this year, but just barely. The weather has been so crappy lately that I have even started wearing heavy sweaters to work already. It’s going to be a long, long winter.

    • you live a little further north than I do so you get to turn on the heat sooner–my little bars were calling me by name–now that is scary!

      • And because I live further north and it’s colder here, I need more chocolate because it will create energy in my body to keep me warm right????

      • you use whatever excuse you need–you have my blessing to eat chocolate for any reason

      • Yayyyyy!!!! 🙂

      • double chocolate yayyyyyyyyy!

  5. I finally had to put the heat on this week and I agree that is is like losing a battle! We put it off as long as possible. You have managed to make me appreciate more of the beauty of autumn. And our bag of bite-sized chocolates is almost gone. We will get another one despite the fact that we rarely get more than a couple of trick-or-treaters. Somebody has to eat it! lol

    • We do not get that many trick or treaters anymore either–but you still have to be prepared I guess

  6. Hey, your decorating sounds like mine…I use pumpkins that have a jack-o-lantern face carved in them (terra cotta so I’ve used the same ones for several years now) and I add a few gourds and other seasonal fresh items. Fun stuff! Like you, I also do the thing with my oven, enjoying the warmth when I’m done baking and leave the door open. Funny! Great minds, you know! ~ Sheila

  7. I would throw in the towel at 40F too! Beautiful post LouAnn

  8. It’s so far been unseasonably warm this “fall” (because everyone knows we don’t really have a fall season in southern Cali) and by unseasonably, I mean triple-digit heat. Luckily, it’s passed and we’re *only* seeing mid-70s to 80s now but I really do wish it could be a bit colder since we’re already in the latter half of October for crying out loud. Enjoy some chocolate/candy for me! Our neighborhood doesn’t get too many Halloween visitors and my sisters are both too old to trick or treat so our candy pantry will remain empty…

    • I do not get many trick or treaters but get candy “just in case”–I now have to buy my second bout of candy as I have let the secret out about my stash

  9. I thought I was the only one to wait until the last minute to turn the heat on. Like you I leave the oven door open after I cook but never thought about the lightbulbs, good idea! I threw the towel in about a week ago, we got a cold front and it is not warming up anytime soon. Happy Fall!

    • I threw in the towel the morning that the news report said it was 37 degrees–that was about a week or so ago–though right now we have the AC on upstairs for my runs very hot son–you just cannot win!

      • We had 75 degrees yesterday and today in the 50’s with tonight in the 30’s! Make up our minds already!!

      • we may get some snow today, how about you?

      • no snow so far, just flurries and now bitter cold…..

  10. I love fall and the crisp air it brings, but 40 DEGREES?? Ack! That is way too cold for me! I’m putting on a sweatshirt around 65, making a small fire at 60.

    • I used to run cold but now I don’t–perhaps my inner furnace kicks on a lot

  11. Not sure we really had a summer here this year. I love fall. But – I don’t like winter temps during this season. The colors are beautiful & I love the crisp fresh air. This weekend is supposed to be a nice one. I really hope that it is. The kids in our neighborhood trick-or-treat on Sunday.
    BTW – I have turned on the heat in the house a few times already.

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