"Believe in yourself, your neighbors, your work, your ultimate attainment of more complete happiness. It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in Autumn. "
--B. C. Forbes
After three days of rain I almost feel as if I'm still back in England, sloshing around the gardens at Selwyn College, umbrella in hand. I had to tote that same lightweight Holland America umbrella when I trotted around Pend Oreille Loop with Natty yesterday afternoon.
Recent news, both national and personal, has dismayed me. My brother has somber health issues, a colleague recently took his own life, my sister had been hospitalized with pneumonia and is mostly bedridden with spinal stenosis. Other acquaintances have lost their jobs and my son's closest friend from high school just suffered a stroke. My spirits simply are sodden with sadness.
Yesterday I acknowledged that summer wasn't likely to recur...even though here in NE WA we traditionally enjoy a fifth season, an Indian Summer of exquisite glory. That's usually in October, though. In the meantime, it's September, the month celebrated in song with rain and regret. So I replaced the smiling summer bossy to the right of my front door, the cheerful cow welcome sign, and replaced it with my autumn scarecrow trio.
Yesterday a friend, also lamenting the too-soon change of seasons, posted Jo Stafford's '50s version of Early Autumn on Facebook. Take a listen:
So, on "A winding country lane" that's not quite yet "all russet brown," early this morning my Akita, Tsunami, and I strolled in the September rain. Because Tsunami's about 115 pounds of stubborn muscle, I often need both hands free sometimes to manage her leash. So no umbrella...I made do with my old hooded navy jacket that Ken bought me in Sitka on our Alaska cruise a few years ago. For somebody who writes stories for anthologies that feature uplifting, inspirational tales, I felt pretty downcast as we set out.
When Nami and I turned at the corner and headed back towards the house, I noticed my zinnias, bold, brilliant and brave, even in the drizzle. There's been no frost yet...so I'm grateful for their dazzle, and hope they'll stick around for a few more days. I don't mind autumn...it's just that I dread winter. I've always loved the snow from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. Then I wish it would melt, but here it doesn't. It lingers on until mid-March, sometimes even April. But the sight of those brazen zinnias has so cheered me I've decided to give myself an afternoon away from my computer.
Instead, I'll bake some butterscotch cookies to take to my book club tomorrow. I'm facilitating a discussion of Dickens' Oliver Twist. Often we try to match the refreshments to the book, but I doubt that my fellow readers would relish bowls of gruel. So the sweet maple scent of those cookies baking should raise my spirits.
I'll spend the afternoon reading Maggie O'Farrell's The Distance Between Us. It's billed as a modern day Victorian Gothic...so I'll stay in genre. Then this weekend I'll write my essay on forgiving Charles Dickens.
And today I'll forgive Mother Nature.
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