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Warm blankets…

fall_leavesI’ve always loved this time of year. The explosion of colors. The fresh snap in the air. Football on the weekends. Playoff baseball. Stegmaier Oktoberfest and pumpkin ice cream, preferably together as a meal. The heat gone back to hell where it belongs. The days are shorter and the nights spread out like a warm blanket. You can open windows. Turn off air. Sweatshirts. Hoodies. No more sticking to car seats. A little bit for everybody. Frosty mornings. Slowly warming days. And the evening just enough to invigorate bones worn down by the heat-induced torpor of July and August. Yea winter is coming, but it can wait. We’re gonna watch the trees catch fire first. And as an added bonus I can take my out of shape dog for a walk without him stopping from heat exhaustion after 50 yards.

Summer is too busy. There’s no time for reflection. Everybody’s afraid of missing out on something….so they’re off and running…..mostly doing nothing but bumping into one another. The days are impossibly long. You want to feel like a sloth? Wake up to bright sunshine, and hear your bed calling out to you 15 hours later…..when it’s still light enough to read a book on your front porch. Summer shames you into doing what you don’t want to do. That is…remain conscious. Plus, I wear glasses. When I summer-sweat they slip down the bridge of my nose at the same rate Eric Clapton was losing his specs during his “Unplgged” show on MTV (look it up…..it was so distracting I was hoping somebody would tape them to his forehead). How am I supposed to embrace days that treat me in such ways?

But, alas. Winter. There’s no escaping it.

I’m always been here….so I’ve never not known the 4 seasons. My brother moved to Houston and became demented…. bragging about cutting his grass while wearing a cowboy hat and shorts….on Christmas Day. My NEPA brain isn’t wired to even comprehend such things. So roughly anytime between Halloween and the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, we live with the threat of being carpet bombed by ridiculous snow storms….with the monotony broken by deep dives into below zero wind chills followed by out-of-the-blue spring-like thaws that engorge our rivers and streams. I don’t know about you but I find this all perfectly acceptable. Imagine living in Southern California and having nothing to look forward to except warm, sunny days and hoping a rogue earthquake doesn’t swallow you whole? How boring is that?

(I don’t even want to mention spring….because as nice as it can be it just reminds me that summer is around the bend, and thus pisses me off. Football and college basketball are over, and as I don’t get interested in baseball until October….I have absolutely nothing to look forward to sports-wise except the Masters, which lost some of its luster when I learned that they spray-paint the brown patches of grass an emerald green, put blue food dye in the water, and pipe in fake bird noises for TV. A place unlike any other indeed.)

I’d be remiss in my reflections on fall to not mention one of life’s greatest pleasures.

A warm fire.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fire-place, it was made for these nights. To nap in front of one and wake without your bearings…..for a few seconds not knowing if it’s AM or PM…and then realizing that it doesn’t matter….because it’s the weekend. Living doesn’t get much better than that.

We’re bombarded with so much stupidity and hatred and dishonestly these days it’s easy to forget the simple beauty that surrounds us. We live through gritted-teeth….with the highlight of some days the snapping shut of the garage door behind us…leaving the rest of the nonsense behind….at least for a few hours. The soul needs the changing colors. The soul needs that fresh air snap. The soul needs for you to see your own breath again. The soul needs that old sweatshirt…..and that old walking path you are your dog trod with the leaves covering you like a canvas. The soul needs to be reminded that the ugly and the beautiful go to war every day, but sometimes the latter wins.

In a bit..



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