Struggle

“Sometimes it is okay to give up.” – Me

I have given up. And I do not give up easily. But it was time. In fact, long past time. First I donned socks and gave up short sleeves for long. Then I started wearing sweaters. Sometimes I would put on my long flannelish housecoat (the embarrassing one with little teddy bears in their pyjamas) over my clothes. (Answering the door dressed like this causes raised eyebrows in case you were wondering.) Then I turned all the lights on in the living room to warm it up. Uncharacteristically I cooked and baked up a storm to make the kitchen a little balmier. In the mornings I ran all hot water baths to cozy the bathroom up, and at night I wrapped myself in so many blankets I felt like a mummy.

But after it went down to freezing this weekend and was a mere 31 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday morning, I threw in the towel. I finally gave in and turned the heat on. As the fan whirled and twirled the heated air, and the dusty smell of the first warm up of the furnace of the season teased my nostrils, I could feel the warmth thaw my bones.

I do not know why I fight it. Each year I try to wait it out as long as I can to turn on the furnace for the first time. I am not sure why. I am on a budget plan with Union Gas, so it does not really affect my heating bill in the short run. I guess I am trying not to wimp out too soon. When the temps get down into the 50’s I am not scared. But when it hits freezing, I figure I am no longer wimp material. I am justified in turning the heat on. And once I have turned it on the first time, it is easy to keep the chill at bay without thought. The second and third times I turn the thermostat up seem to come naturally….and so it goes….

I love the fall—the changing leaves, harvest food, the nip in the air, apple picking and pumpkin plucking, fleeting moments of Indian summer, but I still fight having to turn the heat on for the first time. Perhaps it is my latent thrifty nature (which should rear its head a little more often) or the fact that no matter how much we deny it, summer is over. Admittedly, summer is not my favourite season, but the fact that I do not have to bundle up in coat and mitts and boots is a bonus in my book.

Here is an ode to Indian Summer by the editor of the Oxford Book of Canadian Verse, William Wilfred Campbell. He hailed from Owen Sound and wrote several lyrical books of poetry with lovely titles such as “Sunshine and Snowflakes” and “Lake Lyrics and Other Poems”. Without further ado:

Indian Summer
Along the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans
With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.

Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river’s mouth,
Throughout the long, still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.

Ah, they just don’t write poetry like this anymore. Written in the 1880’s Campbell was a product of his time. His poetry painted a picture, both expressive and true with seeming simplicity. But the complexity of his simplicity was his talent, and I am pretty sure he did not struggle with the question of when to turn the furnace on. But I am sure that if he had, he would have come to the same conclusion as I did: when it hits freezing, it is time. Even if we still have some moments of Indian summer left……………

P.S. wrapt and sumachs are his spelling btw.

Have you turned your heat on yet? Today, where I live in sunny southwestern Ontario it is supposed to go to 70 degrees.

Published in: on October 20, 2015 at 4:25 pm  Comments (11)