“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” – Carl Reiner
You guys, it snowed! Yesterday! October 6th! Alright, so it melted the second it hit the ground and lasted less than 10 minutes, but still – snow!
Western weather is the most ludicrously schizophrenic thing you’ve ever seen. It barely turned into Fall, I watched a leaf fall a mere four days ago while walking to my car, and all of a sudden the mountains look like a pastry chef dusted them with confectioners sugar.
I turned on the heat for the first time when I got home from work, only for an hour to warm things up a bit. Last night it was far too cold to sleep with the window open like I’ve been doing for a couple of weeks now – certainly without a nice warm husband to cuddle up against. I’ve got the beginnings of a cold tickling the back of my throat. My stomach is campaigning vigorously for steaming hot stews and soups. The signs are all here, but how did we skip Fall and go straight into Winter?
Western weather being what it is, though, I expect Fall to come back at any moment, clutching its chest and panting, “So sorry, everyone, just popped round to the store for a minute, what did I miss?”
Also, and far more enraging, guess what I saw at the grocery store yesterday? Christmas decorations! Honestly, people, it’s early October, we haven’t even had Halloween yet! Let’s all calm down, shall we?
“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.”
– George Elliot
Fall is here!
I love that the skies are perfectly blue and clear for all but the fluffiest of white clouds, but the temperature is noticeably crisp. I adore sweater weather, and I love breaking out the sweaters that have been in hibernation. Looking into the tree tops and off into the mountains, I’m thrilled that I can see just a handful of leaves, just a couple clusters of trees starting to turn that fierce shade of vivid rust that I love. I enjoy waking up to a cool flat (as opposed to August when I wake up and both J. and I have kicked all the sheets off the bed and are still miserable), snuggled down in my pillow with the blankets drawn up to my nose. I love wrapping my mother’s presents of thick Scottish wool scarves around my neck. I love plotting my Halloween costume, debating the wisdom of buying new boots, and planning whose family we will spend various holidays with. I LOVE Fall!
Alternatively…with the advent of bronzing leaves comes that most American of holidays: HallowGivingMas. Picture this: walking through the mall I passed a home decor store. And right at the front of this store was a large Christmas tree, decorated in jack-o’-lantern and turkey ornaments. Major, major fail.
No, American Consumerism, I will not be guilted into extending my holiday shopping season by a single day, much less three months! Instead, I will be looking at changing leaves, celebrating my godfather’s birthday, wearing my university pullovers, and researching soup recipes, thank you very much.
“Nature’s all well in her place, but she mustn’t be allowed to make things untidy.”
– Cold Comfort Farm
Of course, summer is moving towards its inevitable end. Though not quite in her death throes, she’s sensing that they’re not far off and so is looking to have a last fling with a boy a third of her age, wear skirts that are far too short, and spend all her money rather than let her grasping nephew Fall get a penny of it. In other words, generally behaving badly.
The other day J. called me up.
“Are you coming home for lunch?” he asked.
“Wasn’t planning on it. Why?”
“Because you need to go to the store.”
“Because you need to pick up ant traps and spray.”
Augh! Apparently ants had descended on our flat. They were crawling in from a closet runner, bent on global domination (For the record, Mum, our flat is in no way in a state to attract the wildlife, please don’t wring your hands and bemoan anything). Anyway, I dashed home armed with chemicals, J. vacuumed everything, sprayed and booby-trapped our closet to the point that those famed nuclear-resistant cockroaches of lore couldn’t survive, and we waited with baited breath to see if it had worked. So far, nary a six-legged fiend has been sighted.
However, marshalling the ants to send them indoors was only Old Lady Summer getting drunk at her granddaughter’s wedding. She finished the night by climbing up on the buffet table, shaking her bon-bon, and collapsing spectacularly into the punch.
That night we had a massive lightning storm. I read later that in a half hour period we had nearly 150 lightning strikes in the area. And unlike normal storms, where the flashes and rumbles are spaced out a bit, this was explosion after explosion for hours. Neither J. nor I slept because every few seconds our whole room would light up and it would sound like someone had cracked a whip right next to our heads. And this sort of weather has continued, with varying degrees of intensity, for the last three days now. The power was knocked out yesterday, making getting home from work a nightmare.
Summer and I have a middling relationship. Round about February of each year I whine and long for sunlight, but as soon as we’ve made it through July, I start glaring at bank signs along the road with their publicly displayed roasting temperatures and start mumbling things like, “October sounds good. I could do October right now.”
*Photo of cracked old biddy, from mygutinstinct.wordpress.com *Photo of the vile insect invader, still from the 1954 film Them!
*Photo of my approximate face come mi-August from: findavet.us/blog/2010/04/how-to-keep-your-dog-safe-in-the-heat/
Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
– Robert Browning
I am royally sick of living in the American West! Just when I figure out what on earth the weather is doing, WHOMP! We get slapped with a snow storm, dust and pollution atmospheric covering, heat wave, cold front, or some really horrid combination of the four. I am so tired of pulling out sweaters and coats after packing them away (again). I am thoroughly over days and days of climbing temperatures, only to wake up having to scrape snow off the car.
Living in the West seems to equal extremes. It’s either blazing hot or as cold as Dante’s hell. There is very little in between and the transitional seasons are completely lost in the shuffle (which is a great tragedy, in my opinion, as Spring is so refreshing and necessary and Fall is a radiant symphony of beauty).
Someday I will live in a place where each season takes up as close to a full quarter of a year as possible. And if it’s England, where it’s still green even in the winter in spite of snow, so much the better. I am SO ready for GREEN again…