From Where I Sit

By Pat Spilseth, Columnist

Outside my bedroom windows, the sky is flooded with moonlight. At 5 a.m. I’m awake, reaching for another blanket. I shiver, feel the chill of approaching fall with its accompanying body aches. The change of weather invades my aging joints.

Strange, but why is it that as each season approaches, we long for the past season, not fully completed in our lives. But is there ever enough of summer or the past year of life? Some days I dread the approach of another birthday, but this year is different. I’m still alive and feeling pretty good. My prayers each night include neighbor friends in hospice…it seems that the 70s bring on more health issues. At bridge and book club and even at neighborhood parties, one of the subjects taking priority is health problems. Then we remind ourselves to enjoy the moment; live now! Get up each morning and decide to be happy…a lot of attitude is psychological.

How I savor those lazy, hazy days of summer, sunning on the dock above the lapping waves; speeding through waves with spray flying up in my face as the boat cuts through a big wave; hearing the loud chirping of crickets as I sit reading on the screened porch…can we ever have too much of such joyful abandonment?

Summer and our youth are so fleeting. We want more…

Fall means flannel sheets and wool afghans, casseroles and banana and zucchini breads. It’s soon time to close windows and doors, shutting out the creeping cold; time to wrap ourselves in afghans of memories of last summer as we nudge our toes toward the warmth of the fireplace. Soon I’ll be reading by the fire, nodding off and dozing by nine. It’s dark outside by eight; no wonder I fall asleep so early.

Good sleep happens much more often when I’ve had an event-filled day and a tasty, warm supper. After yesterday’s birthday treat of a drive through the Eloise Butler Wildflower Gardens, dining at Hyacinth’s restaurant talking to the chef about our delicious pasta dinner with wine and chocolate meriange dessert, I slept so well.

Familiar smells of roast beef, baking potatoes, onions and carrots coming from the oven wrap me in comforting memories of my mother’s meals. Smells can fuel the fastest kind of time travel speeding me back across the years. Evocative scents never cease to punch a fist in my heart.

Home is where I usually flew when I felt despair about how life was treating me. Mom didn’t have to say anything; her presence was enough. She baked comfort food and brought a coffee cup and cookie into the living room to sit with Dad and me. He just relaxed with the paper in his La-Z-Boy recliner near the fireplace. I’d lie on the sofa under a window of light, cuddling in an afghan. That scene still reminds me of the comfort I felt being home with Mom and Dad. I knew I was surrounded by the supporting love of my parents.

Fall recalls melancholic moments of home and family. Fall anticipates the arrival of snowflakes and freezing temperatures, the winter of our lives. We want more warm days and balmy nights before we have to put up the storm windows and get out the quilts. Many of us aren’t content with the calendar’s pages turning to a new season; many of us protest growing another year older as well as the change of seasons. Why can’t time stand still??

But whether we want it or not, now it’s time for the fall equinox which falls between September 20 and the 23rd. It’s a time when the hours of nighttime and daytime are equal, 12 hours each. The month of September also marks the “Wine Moon,” the lunar cycle when grapes are harvested from the arbors, pressed and put away to become wine. The full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox is known as the “Harvest Moon,” since farmers would also harvest their crops during the night with the light of the full moon.

Wrap yourself in the blessings of the season. Pop popcorn, burn cinnamon and clove scented candles, bake pumpkin bread, rake the red and brown leaves, and gather firewood to burn in the fireplace. Summer is a past memory to treasure. Get outside and enjoy the  invigorating weather of September and October.

“For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.” ~Albert Camus, French author/philosopher’s comment on living life in the present. Enjoy the moment.

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