Posted tagged ‘no wind’

“Winter slithers, autumn strolls, summer swims, spring skips.”

November 7, 2017

The sun is hiding. It was here earlier but it’s gone now. Today is chillier than it has been, but not chilly enough for the heat to be triggered. The clouds are white, and there is barely a breeze, but I’ll take the clouds rather than the usual cold of November.

When I was a kid, I rode my bike all year. Only the snow stopped me. The roads were seldom plowed all the way down to street so it was too slippery for bike wheels. It was sort of the same when I was walking to and from school. The sidewalks were shoveled by the people who lived beside them, not the town, so we’d hit parts which had never seen a shovel. Rather than get all snowy and wet, we’d move to the road and walk in the ruts. Sometimes we’d have to walk toe to heel because the ruts were so narrow. Sometimes we’d fall into the snow. We always laughed.

I really didn’t mind school all that much in the winter, but I really minded it in late spring and fall when the days were still warm and bright. All I could think of was I should be outside playing or riding my bike; instead, the best weather was being wasted, and a taste of the day at recess only made it worse. All I could do each school day was watch through my classroom windows as warm days withered away. We played when we got home from school but darkness came early, and the street lights were on by four. My mother didn’t care what time it was. She went with the street light curfew.

My town had so many trees bordering the streets and sidewalks that fallen leaves were everywhere. The ones on lawns were cleared and burned, but the rest sat in gutters or around tree trunks. Yellow and orange are the colors of fall to me.

Sometimes I still think of all the other seasons in colors. Spring is green, all different, varied greens. Summer is all colors especially reds and yellows, pinks and purples as the gardens come to life. Winter is white when it snows, and red and green at Christmas, but the rest of winter is mostly brown and grey. We’re almost there now.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

March 8, 2016

We have actually hit 50˚ today because there is no wind. The day is bright and the sky is clear of any clouds. I just got back from my library board meeting so I’m done for the day. My outside clothes are going to be replaced by my inside comfy clothes. I brought home three books from the library, and I have yet to read the morning papers. I’m thinking turning pages might just be my only exercise for the day.

Libraries have always been favorite places for me. I used to go at least once a week when I was a kid. The librarian probably didn’t think I was reading all the books because I returned them so quickly. You’d think librarians of all people would understand how books capture you and how difficult it is to put a good book down. I’d sometimes read a book in one day. I’d even read during class by hiding my book inside a textbook. It had to be a big textbook. The best was always geography with history a close second. Not once did I get caught. I’d turned the text book pages to make it all look real. I was adept at concealment.

When I was in Ghana, I read constantly and swear I read most of the books in the Bolga library. We had no radio, no TV and terrible movies shown once in a while in town at the Hotel d’Bull, the hot spot of Bolga back then. Preparing to teach the next day never took long and neither did correcting so with all this time to fill I read. Trips anywhere took what seemed forever so I learned to read while I was on the bus. It used to make me dizzy and sick when I was younger, but I got used to reading on the road in Ghana. Anytime I had a volunteer stay with me, book swapping was part of the visit. We all carried books. When I was in Accra, I’d go to Legon to the main campus of the University of Ghana. It had a book store. I always spent a good bit of money there. Books were almost as important to us as food and water. I don’t think that’s changed.

“There is no season such delight can bring, As summer, autumn, winter, and the spring.”

January 30, 2016

 

A day in winter with bright sun, no wind and temperatures hovering around 40˚is a beautiful day. Miss Gracie is further proof. She is my barometer: the longer she stays out, the nicer the day. She hasn’t barked or checked in with me for a long time so I’ll take a peek just to make sure everything is okay. It is.

Saturday was the busiest day of the week when I was a kid. My father always went uptown to leave and pick up his white shirts at the Chinaman’s and get a trim at the barber’s. I never thought about the word Chinaman back then. It was just a place to me, a dry cleaner’s, owned and run by a man from China, a Chinaman. I think everyone in town called it the Chinaman’s and nobody meant anything by it. It was purely a description.

Al the Saturday activities were seasonal. In winter I went to the matinee or ice skated at the town rink, a fenced in area built at the start of every winter and taken down when the warmth of spring got too much for the ice. It was the only season my father and all the other fathers in the neighborhood were not outside working in the yards, but come spring  there they were. Saturday was yard day.

My father was never really exact at some things. When he fertilized his lawn, he threw out the fertilizer by hand instead of evenly distributing it with a spreader. When the grass grew, I could always see the pattern of my father’s tosses by the condition of the grass. As soon as the lawn got taller, the whole neighborhood was filled with clipping sound of hand mowers. Every spring my father planted his flowers in the front garden though calling it a garden elevates it as the space was a small one between bushes across the front of the house.

In summer, my father continued to mow the grass every week. He also watered the grass from a sprinkler connected to the hose. My sisters used to love to run through the sprinkler, but my father was never a fan. He said it ruined his grass. He did have nice grass.

Fall was time to rake the leaves, a communal activity in my neighborhood every Saturday. After being gathered, the newly raked leaves were piled by the curb on the side of the street. Tradition dictated that the piles be burned. I watched as closely as my father would let me. I can still picture the flame coming from the middle of the pile and the smoke rising above it. I remember the smell of those burning leaves, one of my favorite smells.

Last year I burned a few leaves just for the memories. The smell, the aroma, was so familiar I could have been ten again and standing with my father.