Posted tagged ‘red leaves’

“When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.'”

October 12, 2015

Today is the best sort of a fall day. The sun is shining, it’s warm and the clear blue sky goes on forever. The leaves have started changing, and with the help of the wind, some have already fallen. My front lawn has touches of red lying on the grass blown from the trees along the driveway. Clumps of pine needles with chewed ends are strewn on the grass and the driveway. The spawns chew the clumps off the branches, drink the sap then toss the leftovers. I don’t ever remember seeing as many clumps.

Columbus Day meant the day off from school, but it was always the 12th, never a convenient Monday. Today is just happenstance. Schools, banks, town and federal offices including the post office are all closed.

I don’t know how to celebrate Columbus Day. All the other holidays are easy, each has a token, a symbol. Some even have traditional foods. I suppose we could eat Italian food in honor of Columbus having been a citizen of Genoa or considering he never really made it to the New World, we could eat Caribbean food, the closest he got. We could wear one of those silly hats he’s always pictured wearing. As for decorations, miniature ships with crosses on their sails could be on the Columbus Day table. That’s all I’ve got.

Now we come to the controversy as to whether or not we should celebrate Columbus, by most accounts a slaver guilty of genocide. He wiped out entire populations of indigenous people. He didn’t even find America, his one claim to fame. Protests against Chris are held every Columbus Day. In some places the day has been renamed Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Only 23 states still have the day as a holiday from work.

I used to like a day off in October. In truth, I didn’t care the reason.

I agree that Chris doesn’t deserve a whole day in his name. He really didn’t do anything worth recognition. Quite the opposite is true so I think it’s time to stop honoring him. We need to rethink the day.

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

September 22, 2014

Summer is busy packing. Gone are days on the deck, the flowers in the front garden, movie nights, hotdogs and burgers on the grill and the bright, warm sun. Fall is impatiently waiting in the wings for its big arrival tonight. Colorful leaves, crisp mornings, mums, pumpkins in all sizes and shapes, gourds and bales of hay are waiting their turn. Warm days and cool nights are already here. At 10:29 tonight fall is official.

My windows are open as summer is leaving with a flourish. It will be in the mid 70’s today. The day is lovely and smells of flowers.

When I was a kid, the start of school was the start of the year for me. It meant the end of carefree days, bike riding, bare feet and playing outside after dark. New rules applied. The street light turning on meant the end of playing outside for the day. Homework had to be done, and we were forced to go to bed early. Mornings started all too soon. Breakfast was first, then getting dressed for school then leaving with book bag and lunch in hand.

The school day never changed. We had the same subjects at the same time except art and music which were random and not every day. In music we learned songs like My Grandfather’s Clock. In art we used colored pencils or crayons. We made cards for our parents for every holiday. I loved art but I was horrible. I never moved beyond stick figures. In music I couldn’t carry a tune, but I enjoyed singing. The academics were my strongest suit.

Even when I was young, I thought fall was the prettiest season. Front steps had pumpkins and sometimes sheaves of hay. The red and yellow leaves were glorious. On Saturdays we could smell the burning leaves and see the smoke from so many fires billow and curl into the air. Fall was a feast for the senses.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

November 5, 2013

The sun is among the missing. It’s been gone a while. Today is dark and bleak. Very little color is left in my yard except for one small tree next to the drive-way. Its has red leaves, brilliant red leaves against the backdrop of empty branches.

 I filled the feeders yesterday, and I got really cold. My fingers were the coldest of all. I filled three feeders with sunflower seeds and two with thistle. I also filled one suet feeder, cleaned out the bird bath and added water to it. When I looked later, the birds had descended in full force. When I looked after that, a red spawn was inside one of the feeders. I ran out and scared it so much the panicked spawn had trouble getting out from behind the wires on the feeder. I kept running at it, and the spawn was close enough to touch before it jumped to a branch. It is the same spawn who got hosed all summer. I’m thinking a squirt gun as the hose is put away for the winter. 

When I was young, we’d go into Boston, to the Public Garden, and ride the swan boats. The boat pond was always filled with ducks and the garden itself had a million squirrels and pigeons. People would sit on benches and feed the birds and the squirrels pieces of bread and peanuts from vendors who sold them from red carts along the walkways. I always wanted to feed the squirrels. I thought they were cute. What did I know? I was little. 

Life is filled with routine. It starts when we go to school. We get up every weekday, eat breakfast, get dressed and walk to school. The subjects come in the same order every day except on music and art day. We eat lunch at the same time every day. We go out for recess unless it’s raining. High school doesn’t change the routine much. For me the only difference was I took a bus every day, every day at the same time with the same people. The subjects still came in order. Lunch was at the same time every day . We didn’t have recess but we did go out for air in the small fenced in yard behind the school.

College is when the routine starts to change, and we begin to taste the freedom of choice. Pick your own classes mindful of the schedule. Eat when you have time. Sit around and play cards in the canteen. Skip a class now and then. 

After college, the routine reasserts itself at work. Be there at a certain time, eat lunch at the same time as yesterday and the day before and the day before that, teach the same classes in the same order every day. Go home around the same time every day. That, however, was the first routine I barely noticed and never minded. I didn’t like the getting up part, but I loved the work part. I loved my first two years in Ghana and I loved the next thirty-three here on the cape. I think loving what you do makes the day joyful though not every day because we couldn’t be that lucky, but it does for most days. 

 I have no routine now, and I’m glad. I get to choose whatever my day will be. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter woods.”

September 17, 2013

An early morning meeting (9 for me) has slowed down the day. I didn’t get to the papers until I got back home, and my morning doesn’t officially start until the papers are read and my two cups of coffee are consumed. I am now ready to start the day.

I’m wearing a sweatshirt so that should be all you need to know about the weather.

As much as I wanted an empty dance card this week, it seems to be filling. I have a meeting tomorrow and I need to shop on Thursday for the fixings to celebrate my friend’s birthday on Friday. That means making my chili after I shop so it has a whole day to settle. On Friday I have to make my chocolate pudding pie for dessert. Those choices are my friend’s for her special birthday dinner. I think Saturday is still an open day, but the way things are going, it will probably change.

Soon will be the start of the hibernation season for me and the bears. Nothing much seems to happen in winter. A few playhouses stay open, but I usually don’t buy a ticket unless the play is spectacular. In a short time, the house will get that closed in feeling, a stuffiness from the heat and the lack of fresh air. I’ll only go out on the deck to fill the bird feeders and out front to get the papers and the mail. All summer I would stop for a bit to admire the front garden and take in the morning. In winter, it’s a rush to get back inside the warm house.

I chose to live in New England even though I am not a fan of winter. I always think of the other seasons as rewards for living through the cold. My favorite season is just beginning. Autumn on the Cape is beautiful with clear crisp air, the red leaves of the oak trees, colorful mums at the garden stands, the harvesting of cranberries from the bogs and fall flowers still brightening the gardens. It’s still a long way until winter.

“Happily we bask in this warm September sun, Which illuminates all creatures…”

September 23, 2012

It must have rained during the night as the street and driveway are wet, but I never heard the rain. The morning is warm. The sun rose without being seen, hidden as it is behind clouds. I went to bed really early and woke up in the dark. I can’t seem to shake the last time zone. My newspapers aren’t even here yet.

This is my favorite time of the year. The Cape stays warm. Red leaves dominate the trees, the scrub oaks, which are everywhere. Tourists are gone for the most part. The weekends, though, will still be a bit busy through Columbus Day when the Cape closes up for the season.

This is also the tour bus season, and every bus is filled with senior citizens taking advantage of the off-season rates, the still open souvenir shops and the all you can eat restaurants. The buses pass me as they go down cape, and I can usually see the tour guide standing in front with microphone in hand. On Route 6A, I figure the guide is describing the captains’ houses and places like the Edward Gorey house. That is the prettiest road on the whole cape, and it extends from the bridge to Orleans. I usually take that road when I’m going down cape.

I need to buy some mums. I noticed they are blooming in my front garden, and I think I’ll add a couple of different colors. The mums always seem like the last gift of the season from my garden, the memory I’ll hold onto until spring.

I have a wonderful memory. I can see things as they are and how they used to be. I was giving directions to my friend and told her exactly how many lights she’d go through: seven of them. I just closed my eyes and saw the road and each light. I have the worst accent when it comes to languages, but I remember the vocabulary, even my high school French. I may mangle the sounds, but I get my point across.

Nothing tastes better than sweet, fresh fruit. Pineapple is my favorite, but the paw paw in Ghana I ate this trip moved up to a close second. I keep bananas around for a quick snack. I love them in my cereal. They even perk up corn flakes. Cold, crisp apples scream of fall, but it’s pumpkins which are fall’s best fruit. They stand out in every farm shop usually lined up in the front inviting us to stop. I always do.

 


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