Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Premonition of Fall

A golden aura permeates the air. Everything seems to be bathed in liquid sunshine. A last chance of warmth as Indian summer peaks out, playing hide and seek. Temperatures in the 70’s belie the fact that in a month or more the harshness of winter will prevail, and things now green and living will become black and shriveled.

Fall – the tumbling of leaves, of temperatures, of summer joys and giddiness, a sobering time to prepare for the deadness and silence of winter. Being hushed by thick fluffy whirling masses of snow, silencing life and the living. Waiting for that time, we revel in sky that is intensely blue, of leaf in brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow. In foreshadow of a distant spring, autumn rains turn baby grass a brilliant green. Knowing that it lies there waiting under heavy snow gives some comfort that the earth will once again be warm again and full of new life.

The first snowfall came this morning. You could feel the sense of change yesterday as people scurried around, working on last minute preparations before the cold weather set in. My sister-in-law, niece and I went and picked all the grapes we could find, so they wouldn’t freeze and be ruined for juice. We picked up walnuts, a tree full of beautiful pears, and the last of the apples to harvest before the freeze. Like the summer drop in temperature, this will probably be equally shocking, Indian summer to the biting chill of winter in one day.

Living in the mountains gives me a wake-up call to the severity of nature and the callous indifference it shows to living things. Nature doesn’t care if you hike up into the mountains and get lost, spending the night in shirt sleeves and shorts while the temperature drops 40 degrees. It has no thought to the tender green tomatoes left to ripen on the vine. If they are left out, the next day they are frozen solid, while the plant shrivels to black.

Life, like nature, cares not whether we are prepared or whether we did something on purpose or accidentally. Like preparing for winter, protecting the good things that we have accomplished is as important to our life survival, as bringing in the unripe tomatoes from the garden and emptying and turning off the outdoor water spigot. Preparing and protecting our loved ones from a cruel and indifferent world is as necessary as making sure the heater is on in an empty house and protecting pipes from the freezing temperatures.

Times are changing as surely as the leaves change color and the first snow brushes the tops of the mountains. Preparing for the future, paying off debt, embracing a simpler, more frugal life style, storing food and water are as necessary as those steps taken to prepare for the winter. When ye are prepared, ye shall not fear. Advice for the times and the seasons.>

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