I named the above rendering “Autumn Creeps In”. There is a subtly to September, even considering that this year the air is prematurely snappy. We’ll will undoubtedly have some warmish, golden Indian summer days in October. Yet autumn is creeping in at a consistent pace.
Beauty! Color! Invigorating Days! Bittersweet Reflections! All of these characterize the season at hand. Recently I’ve been wrapped in bittersweet reflections—recalling the riches of the short summer from which we are emerging. June remained chilly, and I kept a handspun, hand knitted hat in the car until early July. Then summer began in earnest. How languid, how lovely—except for about 5 unbearably hot, sticky days when we had to turn on air conditioning which we absolutely hate to do!
Summer guests, summer afternoons on the patio, summer evenings with frog serenades ringing from the gardens beneath our windows, summer rains (not enough of them, however), summer ice cream outings, summer, summer, summer! We grab hold of summer in our souls, stash it in our cupboard of poignant memories, and dream of it in January when it’s 10 below zero in Wisconsin (or 30 below zero up north where we lived for 8 years). Summer!
This week I’ve been thinking seriously about autumn creeping in, and I’ve responded accordingly. House plants have been moved from our patio to a spare table in Joe’s den. Most of our house plants never went out for the summer, as we have doors and windows open nearly around the clock and it’s like a garden indoors. African violets stay inside all year, relishing their eastern exposure and the shelter of our living room. Most of my jades, Christmas cacti, orchid cacti, and aloe plants stay indoors in our southern windows. But a few jades and cacti have been hanging out on the patio for the last 2 months, adding to the decor. Now all have been garnered in. Soon the Christmas cacti will be stashed away in a dark closet, resting and preparing to bloom.
Today I dismantled our sweet little patio fountain, as those inevitable early frosts are advancing from the north. Any night now, icy fingers could move in—snipping here, blanching there, and freezing the water in fountains. Our fountain (with a hidden electric pump) consists of 3 levels of pretend rocks (actually fiberglass, but very realistic and rocklike) over which the water tumbles—plus a small girl and a family of ducks. Carefully I dismantled the 3 sections, wiped the pieces dry, and transported them to our garage on the seat of my 4 wheel walker.
Now the little girl and her ducks have been re-assembled (but not in the operating mode) in a far corner of the garage, where I keep treasures: seasonal wreaths, decorative odds and ends, junk from rummage sales, etc. It’s fun to wander and browse among stuff in our garage. And even during winter’s bleakest period there are sunny days when Joe and I can bundle and sit inside our garage on comfy chairs, while pretending we’re staring into a New Mexico sky.
We have a large fountain in our community pond. Soon it will be shut off for the season. I’ll mourn the loss of moving water, while knowing the fountain will resume it’s refreshing showers next April. I’m thankful for the small indoor fountain which graces our living room table of African violets. The sound of water tumbling from this diminutive ceramic “friend” will cheer many winter days.
Along with bittersweet reflections, comes the anticipation of additional hours for indoor pleasures—including extra time to knit, and spin gorgeous wool on my spinning wheels. During the colder months, I keep a spinning wheel in front of our surrogate (electric) fireplace. What a cozy place to sit and spin.
Stacked in my corner studio are many paintings and collages in progress. And for every piece waiting to be completed, more paintings and collages are lined up in my head—just waiting to be born on paper or gallery wrapped canvas. Even when the autumn color fades, indoor color will prevail!
A new piano book of easy-version Scott Joplin rag tunes has arrived in the mail, and I’m getting a handle on “The Entertainer”. “Maple Leaf Rag” is a bit more challenging with 4 flats, but (God willing) I’ll learn to play that as well in the coming weeks. There are 18 rags in the book—enjoyment forever. I have music for each day and every mood. I love Mozart Beethoven, and Chopin. And I also love ragtime, especially Joplin’s works!
Soapmaking is ongoing in my kitchen, as I supply many family members and friends with my beautiful facial (and body) soap. The thrill of a creating a new batch of soap never grows old. Our home is redolent with rose, wisteria, sandalwood, patchouli, and (for occasional novelty) soaps scented with of coffee and chocolate fragrance oils.
(When we moved to a condo 2 years ago, a friend was shocked to hear that I was still making soap. “You make soap in a condo?” my friend asked. I answered something to the effect that I will always want to go on living, no matter where! Maybe this friend thought that I should just zone out and twiddle my thumbs, since I was advancing in age and now living in a condo!)
And then there are books, books, books, books, and more books! Within a few minutes of our door are 2 libraries, in different directions. Although we don’t fancy many of the newer books due to their inferior writing quality and mediocre content, we love the used book sales which are frequent at the libraries. These sales never let us down. As we come home with bags of “new to us” used books, we add to the leaning towers of books against the walls of our home. A KINDLE® or NOOK® would never be welcome at this treasure trove of tattered covers, coffee stained pages, and people who are passionate about real books!
So you see, as autumn creeps in my bittersweet reflections give way to downright enthusiasm. Spring and summer will return. In the meantime, what a wealth of joy! Each day is an adventure to be embraced and celebrated—regardless of the season!
Margaret L. Been, ©2011
Read Full Post »