By By G.E. Shuman
Okay, so, I admit it. THIS really is my favorite time of year. I enjoy spring, but don’t like spring cleaning; I like summer, but don’t enjoy mowing, raking, or bugs; and I like the first snowfall of winter, for about the first five minutes of that first snowfall. UGH!
Fall, to me, is perfect. The sound of electricity pouring through my air conditioners is gone for the year and the roar of our fuel-guzzling furnace is yet to begin. The lawn no longer needs to be mowed, and whatever unaccomplished summer projects I had projected to perform are also in the past, or, more precisely, definitely postponed into the indefinite future, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer. With my projects I usually end up poorer. The results of not getting those projects completed will have to wait until next year, and something about that does not bother me all that much.
The fact that I can venture outside without fear of sweating or sunburn this time of year is wonderful; the idea that I can actually do fall projects outside the house without fear of passing out from the heat or freezing to death from the cold is a great double-blessing. I know I complain about the coming of snow, but I don’t usually mind getting the house ready for winter, and I LOVE tramping through crunchy, beautifully-colored fall maple leaves on my lawn. Note: Did you know that a soft rain falling on freshly-fallen dry leaves sounds exactly like bacon frying? It really does, and who doesn’t like bacon frying?
I don’t know why I’m admitting this, but in every season I feed the squirrels that inhabit the trees all around our neighborhood, but I don’t have a delivery service. They must come to the satellite dish-turned squirrel feeder-shelter on the tree behind our house to get the bread, popcorn, old cereal and a weekly five-pound bag of peanuts in the shell. (The peanuts are unsalted, of course. I don’t want my squirrels developing high blood pressure.) They don’t seem to mind doing that.
I will have to haul in our four air conditioners and do what I can to insulate the windows and doors of our one hundred thirteen-year-old home, but I do that every year, and getting ready for the blasts of January is something better done now than a few months from now. The ritual of ‘tucking in’, as I have often referred to it, almost adds to the fun of fighting the frosty, freezing foe that invariably arrives shortly after a Vermont fall.
Things are starting to quiet down for fall in our neighborhood already. Trucks hauling boats to and from the lakes on the weekend are pretty much done with roaring past our house, and the big ol’ Harleys, ridden by those cool, leather-clad, snowy-bearded men and their babes have all but packed it in until spring. They will all soon be replaced by cars with skis and boards on their tops and pickups hauling trailered snow machines, and all of that is okay with me. I won’t be on the slopes and trails with them, but my two-year-old granddaughter and I will watch them head down the snowy road, from our cozy spot behind the window.
Today it’s the advancing season that fills the thoughts and chores at our house. We need to get ready for it, and that’s enough for now.