“Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze.”

The morning was chilly. I took Gracie out into the backyard and sat and waited for her. I smelled a wood fire and all of a sudden my memory jumped back to Ghana and mornings during the harmattan. Those mornings were cold, as cold as I ever felt in Bolga where daytime temperatures often reached over 100˚. The morning air was filled with the aroma of wood fires burning in the compounds behind my house. I could hear muted voices and the sound of water from the tap filling my students’ buckets for their morning baths. Roosters still crowed. Those mornings were a delight.

Gracie has muscular degeneration. Signals aren’t getting to her back legs. The vet said it will get worse, but she is hoping we can slow the progress. Gracie is now getting a pain pill every day. In two weeks the vet will assess the value of her continuing to take them. After that two week mark, GracieΒ is going to start acupuncture. She’ll have two sessions and then an evaluation to see if it has helped.

I could barely walk this morning and my back pain was horrific. Yesterday I had to lift Gracie three times: twice to the car and once to the backseat of the car after she had lost her footing and couldn’t get back on the seat; consequently, I have ordered a back dog lift. I wish I had it yesterday.

Every time I look out at the deck, I feel a bit of sadness. All the furniture is covered. The flowers have been moved off the rails. The candles hanging off the branches are gone. Only the bird feeders remain.

When I was a kid, the preparations for winter were my father’s jobs. He took down the screens and replaced them with the storm windows. He removed the screens from the two doors and put in the storm doors. He went to the gas station and had the snow tires put on his car. Every weekend he’d rake the lawn, move the pile of leaves to the gutter by the sidewalk and then burn them. The smell of burning leaves is one of my all time favorites, and it carries memories of my dad. I can see him standing there by the flaming leaves while smoke billowed into the air. He held on to his rake and used it periodically to move more leaves into the fire. I stayed until the leaves were gone.

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10 Comments on ““Autumn bowed to place a beautiful crown on the Queen of Morning, and her velvet robes sway merrily in the chilly breeze.””

  1. flyboybob Says:

    Have you considered acupuncture for yourself? I always say that getting old isn’t for the faint of heart for either man nor beast. πŸ™‚ Whoever came up with the term, ‘Golden Years’, must have been in their thirties. There’s nothing golden about them.

    I don’t remember my father burning the leaves he swept up from the yard. The trees were very young and didn’t have that many leaves. The last time I drove by our house in North Dallas, the trees had all grown up and matured. The house also looked much smaller than when I was a kid. I’m surprised it’s still standing since mid century modern or ranch houses build in the 1950s around here are being razed or completely redone into mc mansions. Most of them sold new for about $40,000 and today the lots are being sold for over three hundred thousand dollars. Some of them were bought on spec and are selling after rebuilding or renovation for well over a half a million. I’m waiting for the real estate bubble to burst again since 45 has the same ideas about financial regulation that 43 had. 😦

    Today brings us another beautiful day with a high in the low to mid 80s. My friend in Montana posted a picture on Facebook of twelve inches of snow on his back yard. Now you know one reason why I don’t live in Montana. πŸ™‚

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I have considered it but just haven’t done anything about getting there. I agree about getting older. It sucks.

      I noticed the same thing about the trees in my old yard. There were two fir trees in the side yard, and they were not very tall. Now they are taller than the house. There were trees all over so there were plenty of leaves.

      It was chilly all day today but not too bad. I sit and wait for the dog, and it wasn’t bad sitting there. The sun shined all day long so it was a pretty day.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I’m glad to read that you ordered the dog lift. It would bad if you did in your own back in the process. There are also things that would help you get Gracie in and out of the car or on and off the bed. Most of them seem to be stairs of some kind which would not not be a good solution for Gracie’s problem in the long run. You would probably need something like an actual lift with a motor or some kind of mechanical assist. I hope that acupuncture helps Gracie. You might also consider canine therapeutic massage. Bancroft in Worcester has a training program for canine massage and might have references for qualified therapists in your area.

    I always hated it when my father put the storm windows on my bedroom windows. It felt like no air was getting in. Obviously that was not the case. I just wanted to open the windows sometimes and the storms were not easily opened. I took them off as soon as I possibly could. I used to have to climb the ladder to do this so I had to wait until there was no snow or ice on the concrete under the window. Eventually I figured out a way to take them off from inside my room but I had to be very careful not to drop them as I was dragging them in through the bottom half of the window. No more waiting for the snow to melt. I could take them off in early March.

    Today was sunny and cool. There were turkeys in the back yard sitting in the sun and thinking sun-warmed turkey thoughts I suppose. The dogs disapproved on general principles.

    Enjoy the day. Burn a small handful of leaves in commemoration of autumn and the closing of the deck.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I stopped sleeping upstairs a while back when Gracie became too scared to get down the stairs even with my help. Up the stairs doesn’t bother her as much. My bed is so high I would be afraid she’d move and fall off. She has fallen off the couch a couple of times. I have seen something like a wheelchair ramp for the cars. That might work.

      I could open my storm windows a bit but my father complained I was letting the heat out so I’d have to close the window. This house had pull down windows and screens so it was easy to change seasons. Now I have double pane windows so all I do is lock them.

      The turkeys must have a sort of signal as there were turkeys walking up the road by my house. I always think about the Waltons when John would go out with his father to hunt for the Thanksgiving turkey. Here he just has to walk down the street.

      It stayed sunny and cool here as well. Tonight is supposed to be cold.

      Have a wonderful evening! I’ll remember to burn a few of those leaves.

  3. olof1 Says:

    I smell wood fires here chilly mornings too, more and more goes back to that for keeping their homes warm and nice. Unfortunately most people don’t understand how they should do it so every now and again a house burns down.

    That dog back lift will be good for Gracie and I do hope it also relieves Your back a lot! I do hope the acupuncture will help her and as said before, You should try it too!

    I don’t remember burning leafs in autumn that much but I do remember burning dead grass in spring instead. My neighbor the beekeeper did that last spring because he thought he could get rid of all the yarrow growing outside his bee hives. The yarrow thrived this year since it was so dry this summer that nothing else really could flower there πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I told him that it wouldn’t kill the Yarrow but he believes in alternative facts πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ He wasn’t happy when it turned out that alternative facts actually are fiction ands has nothing to do with trhe real world or the truth πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      There was a time when people were putting wood stoves in their houses because of the cost of oil. That boom has stopped. It is a lot of work to keep it going as a heat source.

      The lift should be here tonight so I’ll know quickly how it helps the both of us. You’re right about acupuncture for me too.

      There is no burning allowed anymore unless you get a permit and most towns don’t give them. Nobody cared about the smoke when I was a kid. Some people are stubbornly stupid!

      Have a great evening!

  4. sprite Says:

    I’m sorry about Gracie’s degenerative condition. I hope the treatments help.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, sprite. I too hope they’ll help keep her walking. She is quite old for a boxer but the rest of her is in great shape.


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