My Homemade Mother's Day Gift

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The last lovely day of Autumn...

Some things come about at such slow intervals you don't notice the pivotal moment of modification.  One day you look to discover the transition has already occurred in plain sight without detetection.  Your child becomes a teen... your hair turns gray... your pants don't fit.  The transitions are so gradual, when you suddenly realize that you've witnessed a huge change and you're pondering how and when it came about. 

But some things, you see them encroaching upon you in the distance, edging closer and closer. You're intently aware there are modifications looming on the horizon.  Today was that day... the last day of a beautiful Autunm. 

The summer was blisteringly hot and dry.  Dry to the point I was concerned we might even lose our trees.  The sump pump in the basement which was the replacemnt for its well worn predecessor never ran.  We went to Grant's Farm on one of the many, many 100° days we endured over the summer, and it was even more than the African Elephant was willing to tolerate.  At the end of the day, the children were wilted.

Our trees survived, as did the children and the Elephant at Grant's Farm.  Toward the end of August, the weather finally broke and the rains came.  Despite my usual angst toward the arrival of Autumn, I can honestly say that this year, I felt a strange anticipation for  Fall to arrive with cooler days and rain.  And while the stress of the heat and drought had made for a trying summer, it has certainly developed into a brilliant fall.  The trees this year were vivid reds and golds and greens and oranges and all the shades and hues between and the hills were flamboyantly ornate. 

Just at the end of June, I had made a $50 purchase of potted Gerbera Daisys & Red Geraniums on clearance at a local open air market. I couldn't get them in the ground that weekend and by the next week, the weather had dramatically deteriorated into fiery days and steamy nights with no relief.  I kept thinking it would break and tried to hold off planting them under the glowering rays but the heat intensified and the ground cracked and the flowers began dying despite my attempt at guardianship.  So I soaked the flower bed one evening for several hours so I could get the shovel into the impenetrable bed and insert the plants, hoping for the best.  I didn't expect they'd survive... and for a while it looked pretty bleak.  I lost several plants despite the late night waterings.  The sun and heat were reletntless and nothing I did could quite overcome the offense. 

But finally the rains came. The foliage turned a rich dark green.  A rainbow of color popped out in late August and the incinerating brutality of former days seemed entirely forgiven.  The weather remained pleasant and rains were more plentiful and the flowers filled their bed and at the first cold snap, the trees began to compete with the flowers as if to brandish brilliantly their ability to transcend the floral beauty by their enormity. The hills were an emblazened palate of crimsons and ambers and lemons and flaming coppers and burnished brass.  Stepping outside, driving thru the country, or just looking out the window overwhelmed the senses with the dazzling array of color everywhere. 

It was a glorious Autum.

Thursday was a record setting 85°,  and as I walked through the neighborhood, the yards were blanketed with lush green grass peeking through blankets of fallen leaves of reds and golds and the trees were vibrant and the sky was blue and the flowers still copiously flourishing their beds.  It was a lot to take in on a late October afternoon as my mp3 player pounded the piano of Yurima in my head.  I was glad we'd taken the drive up to Augusta on Sunday, despite the overcrowded state of the wineries.  The vision of the rolling hills was worth the lack of elbow room and the strenous climb to the top of the hill for lack of parking spaces.

But everything has a shelf life and while some things end without notice, this phenomenal Fall was not one of them.  Friday morning, the temperature had dropped into the low 40's and the wind was gusting up to 50 mph and the temperatures were expecting to fall at night into the 30's. And when I came home early from work, I tried to take it all in. 

The trees were already exhibiting signs of the ravages of the glacial gales.  I tried to talk Steve into covering the flower bed with a tarp to preserve the flowers a few more days and he readily agreed that he had the means but made no attempt toward accomplishing the goal.  It was merely a futile attempt to inhibit the impending winter. 

This morning the lovely flowers are crumpled and the leaves lie at the base of the naked trees in heaps and gobs of faded color... and the awesome Autumn has come to an ignominious end.  I know there's also beauty in winter but I dread the cold and the ice and the snow.  Its the kind of beauty I see from the window and wish away for more temperate days. 

143 days till spring and counting...