Posted tagged ‘shoulder season’

“Suddenly, the wind got hold of the hammock. Leaves murmured. It was cold and the sun had gone down.”

September 1, 2017

September has arrived far too quickly. The summer sped so fast I swear my body, especially my face, was contorted by the G-force acceleration. Today is even autumnal weather with temperatures in the high 60’s. Tonight will be even colder, the high 40’s, sweatshirt by day and warm blanket weather by night. The day is really pretty with a clear blue sky and lots of sun. The breeze is brisk so the trees and leaves are swaying. I filled the bird feeders yesterday, but I noticed they are only half full already. I have more seed in the trunk so I’ll fill the feeders again later.

My mother had a small flower garden on the side of her house beneath some kitchen windows. She had bird feeders among the flowers including a statue of St. Francis with his arm extended and his palm up so it could seed. She put a wire fence across the entrance of that garden to keep my dog Maggie away, but it seldom worked. She always found a way inside. I swear Maggie did it just to drive my mother crazy. I used to have to retrieve her and reset the fence. A while later, though, Maggie was back in the garden, and I was retrieving her again. It was a game she always played but only when the flowers were in bloom.

I always call this coming season fall rather than autumn. If I lived on a farm, I guess I’d call it the harvest season. When I was a kid, I figured it was called fall because of all the leaves falling off the trees. The sidewalks and the gutters were always covered or filled with leaves. I’d walk in the gutters on my way to school and kick the leaves all over. They’d mostly land in the street strewn about like a trail you could follow all the way from my house to school.

Fall eases us into winter. It’s a shoulder season. We have warm days then cold days hinting of winter. I open my windows during the day and close then at night. The house holds the night cold in the mornings now. The backyard is shadowed so it is chilly when I first take Gracie out. I beg her to hurry so we both can go back inside, me for coffee and warmth and her for breakfast. Today she didn’t linger.

“Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.”

August 25, 2015

The weather has broken. We have sun and a breeze. It is still hot, but the breeze makes the deck the best place to be. I’ll sit under the umbrella, read and watch the birds. The feeders need attention so I’ll fill them again today. The red spawn was on the deck rail, but it jumped onto branches then scooted away when it heard me. I guess all the hosing worked.

The summer is nearly over. There are fewer cars on the road this week. Some schools have opened and others open next week. Labor Day is in two weeks. That used to be the official end of the tourist season here when most motels and restaurants closed, but not anymore. The season now extends into October and the Columbus Day weekend.

The fall, the nicest time of year here, is probably called the shoulder season, but I always think of it as bus season. Tour buses, filled with older people, retirees, take over where the cars used to be. You can usually see the guide standing in the front of the bus chatting with microphone in hand.

The mums are here, one of the first signs of the changing seasons. They are on display at every garden center, and the ones I’ve planted the last few seasons have buds and flowers. I never noticed flower garden when I was a kid. I don’t even remember mums or a local garden center. I do remember farm stands selling pumpkins and corn stalks. We used to pass them on our Sunday drives to my grandparents. In those days much of the ride was on side roads until we connected with Route 1, but even then we drove through a few neighborhoods before we’d hit the oil tanks where the ships were moored. I remember the farm stand in Revere right near the church. The stand was set at an angle and pumpkins in piles filled both sides of the front. Inside the stand we could see those oblong fruit baskets filled with apples and vegetables. We never stopped there. We never even asked. We just knew my father would say no. He hated stopping. He was a straight here to there sort of guy.

“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.”

May 2, 2014

The sun is breaking through the clouds. Today will be spring.

This shoulder season is my least favorite time of year. Of late, I have been tired and bored. The cold and the rain have made exploring less inviting. Afternoon naps while away the time but make me no less lazy. A few errands force me out of the house, and even though I complain, I am grateful for the change. Today is one of those days.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have decks or porches or patios. We just had backyards, unfenced expanses of grass dotted with clothes lines close to each house. The little kids mostly stayed in those yards. My sisters sat on the back-steps right outside the door and played with their dolls. My mother could hear and see them, but she never really worried. They wouldn’t stray and the whole neighborhood kept an eye. We older kids would never be caught playing in the backyard during the daylight. We had the freedom of bikes. My mother would do her parental duty and ask where we were going. We seldom had an answer as we seldom had a destination. “Just around,” was our usual reply, and that was exactly where we went. We never had any money, not even the wealth of a dime or a quarter. Sometimes we made lunch, mostly a sandwich and some Oreos, and we’d stop somewhere to eat at no given time just when we got hungry. If something caught our eyes, we’d investigate. We’d stop, use the kickstand on our bikes and walk to see what was around. Sometimes we’d ride uptown, walk our bikes on the sidewalk and look at store windows. My favorite window was at the fish market. A tank took up most of the window and lobsters took up most of the tank. We’d stop at the Woolworth’s window and Kennedy’s Cheese and Butter Store where barrels sat out front and the window had chunks of cheese which was foreign to us. My mother never bought cheese in chunks. We’d usually end our uptown tour there and head down the street pass the fire station, the town hall, our school and church and the convent. By then it was late afternoon, and during this time of year it was getting cooler as the sun set. We’d get home, maneuver our bikes down the stairs into the cellar and go up stairs to watch a bit of TV until my mother had dinner ready. I remember lots of westerns and hot dogs, beans and brown bread.