Posted tagged ‘chilly nights’

“The rain begins with a single drop.”

April 2, 2023

If I just stayed in the house, I’d think today was a perfect day filled with sun and a cloudless blue sky, but I’d be wrong. It is a cold day with a chilly wind. I ought to wear a parka for my dump trip because the dump is our version of the Russian tundra. This time of year it is always wintry cold especially when there is a wind.

In Ghana, the harmattan winds blow dust from the desert during our winter months. The sun is blocked behind the dust. There is no rain. The air is dry. My lips and the heels of my feet cracked in the dryness. I walked on tiptoes until my heels hardened. The harmattan nights are cold. I slept under a wool blanket. I loved the chilly early mornings. I’d drink my coffee while sitting on my front steps. My students dressed in layers. I relished the chill.

The days were often three digit hot, but it was the driest heat. I remember I really didn’t mind. I walked across the compound to class. The classroom doors were always opened. The windows had no glass. The wind blew through bringing the dust.

Around March, the harmattan begins to lose its hold. The days get humid. The nights get hot. I’d sleep outside in my backyard. Each morning, I’d scour the sky hoping to see clouds, hoping for the first rains.

I remember my first year in Bolga when the sky darkened and the first rains fell. Those first storms are mighty. The raindrops are huge and heavy and make rivulets in the sand too dry to absorb the water. I remember the lightning bolts. I had never before seen lightning so up close. It was tremendous.

Each time I returned to Ghana it was during the rainy season. I loved the rain. It brought sensory memories, throwback memories. I could smell the wet ground. I could hear the heavy drops plunking on the tin roofs. I got wet when I shopped in the market. I was back to that first year and the terrific rains, to the sweetest of memories.

“Quiet is here and all in me.

June 25, 2016

The weather is still perfect. The days are warm, even hot, and the nights chilly. Even upstairs, on the third floor, I need a light blanket at night. What a delight to feel chilly!

Yesterday was major errand day as I haven’t been out so I can keep an eye on Fern. Animal food was the priority then my food. I bought wonderful food: a cooked tenderloin, orzo salad, Caesar salad, barbecued shrimp, watermelon, kebobs, chicken salad, a Clark bar and honey wheat bread. I have a feast in my fridge.

Last night I was trying to find a movie to watch from On Demand. I told my remote to find science fiction movies. I went through all of them and read the information on the ones which interested me. Come to find out many of them had something in common. The destruction of the human race was a prime theme. Aliens seem hell bent on eliminating us. They want our planet or our water. Et was the last friendly alien.

Fern is doing better. This morning she woke me up by lying on my hip and purring in my ear. She waited around until I’d patted her several times. I have given her only one medication so far, three more to go. She caught on to the pill pockets so I have to be inventive. She can jump on my bed and on the couch where she is sleeping right beside Gracie.

My neighborhood is quiet except for the birds. It is as if only I exist here in my house. I haven’t even heard a car. It is a sense of aloneness. Out my window I can see the sun through the branches, the birds at the feeder and the leaves slightly blowing. The view is almost magical in its perfection.

I have the urge to cook. I keep saving recipes from magazines and newspapers. Usually I cook a dish for the first time and invite friends. I just hope for the best. I’m thinking I might do an international dinner. On the menu will be kelewele. I am so looking forward to Ghana when I can eat it every day.

“I hope nobody took the Razzle Dazzle Rose.”

September 25, 2015

Fall weather has taken hold. The days are sunny and warm while the nights are chilly, even cold. I put on a sweatshirt when I woke up this morning. The house was 67˚. If this were winter, my heat would be blasting. I have errands today, and I’m glad because it is a lovely day to be out and about.

When I was young, the nun would pass out papers with outlines of leaves for us to color. In those days the points of the crayons got blunt which make staying in the lines difficult. You had to attack the leaf with the side of the crayon, not where the point used to be. My leaves were red and yellow. I think everyone’s leaves were red and yellow. I remember carrying my treasure home and how proud I was of my art work. I especially remember how much my mother loved those leaves. She made me feel like a real artist and never did mention I went out of the lines.

Crayola crayons were the best of all. I’d get a box to go back to school and a bigger box, the wonderful 48 brilliant colors with the built in sharpener, in my Christmas stocking. When I was really young, I just called the colors red, blue or green. To differentiate, I’d just say light blue or dark red. I didn’t know names like cerulean or turquoise blue. Raw sienna totally threw me. There were so many reds you couldn’t keep track. Light red, dark red and just plain red weren’t enough. There was brick red and Indian red and maroon, my dark red’s real name.

I had a certain artistic style. The yellow sun always had rays coming out from the whole circle. Girls had turned up hair and boys just had a little on the top. Their hair was always brown. I’d put a skirt on the girls which looked liked a funnel. The boys just had stick legs. I don’t know why I didn’t add pants. My flowers were petals of different colors and each had a long green stem coming from the green grass. The trees had bare branches and were almost stick figures.

I never did get good at drawing. I suspect that if I were given a 64 pack of crayons, I’d start with a bright yellow sun with rays extending from the whole circle. It wouldn’t be lemon yellow or green yellow or orange yellow. Nope, mine would just be plain old yellow.

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?”

August 15, 2014

It was cold enough this morning that Gracie cocooned, usually one of her winter tricks. She waits until I’m in the bathroom then pushes the covers to the bottom of the bed and nestles in the blankets so most of her body is covered, all except her head and chest. She looked pretty cozy this morning.

This is one of the coolest summers I can remember. We have hit 80˚ maybe three or four times. The rest of the days have been in the 70’s. Perfect weather. Usually August is humid and disgusting, but it hasn’t been except when we’re expecting rain. The nights have been in the 60’s. I have used my AC in the bedroom maybe five times all summer and the central air maybe three or four times. I’m wearing socks as my feet were cold. What’s with that?

Even though we haven’t had much rain, the lawns are green and beautiful. Usually by this time there are browns spots, and the lawns look dry and tired, but not this summer. When the rains come, they are substantial. Last week we got 3 inches in a single storm. Low spots in the roads became lakes or ponds as there are no gutters and no sewers for run-offs. Just up the street is one of those spots, and it always floods. This time it was the deepest I’d seen it in a long while. Cars went around the block to avoid it. After the water disappeared there was mud and sludge across the road.

I used to love to ride my bike through puddles, the bigger the better. As the water cascaded on each side of the bike, I’d take my feet off the pedals and extend my legs so they’d get wet from the rush of water. I aimed for every puddle I saw, and I laughed out loud for the joy of the puddle and the wave.

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”

September 26, 2013

My official acknowledgement of autumn was yesterday. The back screen door is now in the cellar and the storm door is in its place. The nights had been too cold to leave the backdoor open so Gracie didn’t have access to her dog door. She would ring the bells to go out, and I’d have to go running to open the door then wait for her. Now Gracie can come and go as she pleases.

The days seem darker to me, the sun less bright. I figure it’s mostly my imaginings at the transition in seasons. The cat still sleeps in the morning sun streaming through the front door so she is content. I am not. Every day seems to bring a change as we rush toward winter. The fall flowers are at their peak. The mums in my garden have all bloomed. The new flowers are planted in the front garden. The deck looks desolate and has pine needles, small twigs and branches and the hulls of sunflower seeds strewn about. Some days I sit in the sun in the afternoon, but I wear a sweatshirt against the chill. The days of short-sleeves have ended. We do have plenty of autumn left so my lament may be early, but the nights are cold. They feel like the first touch of winter.

I’m wearing my slippers and a sweatshirt. The house was cold this morning, colder than when I have the heat going, but I can’t bring myself to start the furnace: it’s the final surrender.

When I go to my old town, I always follow the route I used to walk to school. I notice the changes and remember what used to be there. The house where my friends grew up is gone. It was a pretty white house with red shutters and a trellis by the back door. A house near it was always a favorite of mine. It was an old house, one of the first on the street. It too is gone. In their place is a small brick apartment building, an ugly building with no character, with no homeyness. I am glad I don’t walk that route any more.

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

August 15, 2013

Last night was chilly, close the window chilly. It will be the same tonight then tomorrow through Sunday will get warmer each day. I don’t why summer expects all these return engagements. I’m already geared up for fall, and Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is close. It is as early as it can be.

I thought I had an empty dance card tomorrow, but I don’t. That means I have had something to do every day this week. My car is racking up the miles. I have already ridden over 70 miles through today. To me that’s a cross-country trip and tomorrow they’ll be more to come as I have to go to Hyannis. Yup, all the way to Hyannis, the big city in these parts.

I haven’t heard from Grace so I don’t know the progress of her quest to get a visa. She has all the papers she needs to prove her roots are in Ghana. She just has to present them. Grace had them the last time but was so overwhelmed by the quick 10 minute interview she didn’t think to use them. This time she swears she’ll be more assertive. I did call her last week, but she was in the Bolga market with Rose Atiah, another student of mine. In the background I could hear all the voices and the bustle of market day, and it was so loud the conversation was difficult. I said hello to Rose and she asked if I were well. Madam is what Rose still calls me. That’s what all the students called me. Rose is a grandmother; Grace is 61, but I will always be madam.

When I was in high school and forced to move to the cape, I was devastated. I had lived almost my whole life in one town, had the same friends forever and was involved in all sorts of activities. I hated the cape and came home from school every day, threw my books on the bed in my room and stayed there. I remember that first day of school when I stood outside alone by the side door while everyone chatted and talked about the summer. I wore new school clothes, not a uniform for the first time. My homeroom and my classes were easy to find but no one talked to me. I ate alone in the cafeteria. Every weekend I took the bus back to my home, my old town, and stayed with friends. My life had ended, or at least that’s what I thought. It took time, but I found a way to get involved. I joined after school groups. My favorite was the Latin Club but I have no memories of what we did. I was taking Latin IV so the club seemed to fit. Every time I see the yearbook picture of that club, I laugh. We looked like geeks. Giving the drama of my life at the time, I joined the drama club. I made friends, and found a place to sit in the cafeteria with my new friends.

While I was in Ghana and my brother was in the army, my father was transferred back to Boston. My parents bought a house in my old town, but it was never my home. When my brother and I came back to the United States, we both went home to Cape Cod. My mother said she wouldn’t take it personally that no matter where she lived, we wanted to live somewhere else, but our choice had nothing to do with her or the rest of my family. It had to do with our need for the comfort of familiar places and people as that’s what the Cape was for us, a refuge and our home.

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.”

September 12, 2010

The house was only 65° when I woke up this morning. I hunted through the top layer on my closet floor, the summer layer, until I found my slippers. I can never feel warm with cold feet. I am now comfy and cozy.

Last night we had dinner on the deck and watched a movie. It was cold out, but the chiminea fire helped keep us warm most of the evening. Close to the end of the movie, though, after the wood had burned down, we started feeling the cold, the mid-50’s cold. Sadly, last night may have been the deck’s swan song until next summer, and I will dearly miss it. I spent more time on the deck than in the house. Summer passes too quickly.

I slept in this morning, far later than usual. Fern and Gracie stayed with me. Neither seemed all that anxious to leave their warm human. Both were sleeping right next to me. We all must have instinctively known today is not a pretty day. It is overcast and chilly.

Jigsaw puzzles are a favorite of mine. I started young with huge pieces in an eight piece puzzle and worked my way up to the larger puzzles. My favorite size is 500 pieces because the finished puzzle fits perfectly on my table. My mother used to have one in process on the dining room table, and everyone, on the way to the kitchen, always stopped to try and add a piece. I gave my mother a new puzzle every Christmas, and my sister continues the tradition. She gives me one in my stocking. Last year it was snowmen. I enjoy doing the puzzle while watching TV. It’s a perfectly fine way to spend an evening.

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