Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sweet Autumn

(photo of an autumn past)

Early Saturday morning, first cup of coffee on the patio, comfortable in real slippers and a light flannel robe... brought a great deal of reflection.  It began simply enough, with the thought that in other places I've lived, comfortable at this time of year on the patio in a robe would have been surprising in that the weather was warm enough, not cool enough, as is the case now.  I never realized until moving to the Phoenix area, how many of my memories are accessed by visualizing what the seasonal indicators were at the time.  Were there leaves on the trees, was I wearing long sleeves or short?  Though we see seasonal changes here, the most notable is simply the temperature, so the year-round warmth keeps me confused, and I find my year slipping past, thinking once again that it's still summer.  I may never adapt.

This was a rough summer for me.  I've been secretly proud of how relatively untroubled I've been by July's high temps the first few years we lived here.  This year was different, and I found myself thinking summer would never end, wishing for a break.  Lolo always said to be careful of wishing your life away...

Perhaps the long hot summer, or the awareness of blessed coolness, caused me to dip my toe into a bit of melancholy, thinking of autumn activities such as trips to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, wandering the farmer's market filled with the colors of fall in gourds and pumpkins and apples.  Every memory, from our first taste of a fresh apple cider doughnut to pumpkin carving with the kids came clear, and I felt a longing for fallen leaves and the scents of autumn.

In the past, I was never thoroughly able to enjoy fall, because the specter of winter loomed, grinning, over the sweet colorful landscape.  I rushed through those brief fall days, mostly concerned with battening down the hatches, winterizing the yard, and wondering if kids' costumes would fit over winter jackets.

Just as I was about to dive into full-blown melancholy, the sun rose enough to tint the sky peach, lavender, palest blue.  The hummingbirds, usually the first to work the yard in the morning, began their aerial maneuvers overhead, with occasional dips and swoops that defy logic.  Hearing an odd noise to the left, I looked up just in time to see a Gila woodpecker gripping the hummingbird feeder tightly, surely giving me a dirty look for letting it go empty.  These are the memories of autumn in suburban Phoenix, and this is where I'm supposed to be now.  I put down my coffee cup and headed to the kitchen to make hummingbird nectar.