It's hard to believe October is almost half over. Not of course if I look outside....out there it almost looks like it might be November that's passing. The trees have dropped many of their leaves, some without even bothering to change from green, and they wave bare branches against the chilly gray sky. The "s-word" is being mentioned again in the forecast for tomorrow. That would be our third snow already this month. My farmer friends tell me "it's gonna be a long one" and R has ordered a whole pallet of salt for the mall lot. He says he feels it in his bones too. And after fifteen years of managing his mall, his bones know what they know. We scrambled this weekend to get some things done, cleaning the garage to make room for the car, hauling some things to the thrift store, picking the last of the tomatoes before the frost. This morning I brought out the winter clothing bins from the other closet. I can only make layering my summer clothes go so far. It's time for the heavy stuff...and today was a turtleneck day!
Fall is always kind of a strange bittersweet time for me. It feels like a time of new beginnings, probably because I've spent almost half my life starting school every fall! But it's clearly also the end of things...the ease of warm, warm days which I love, fresh produce from my garden, long long days full of light. And out here on the prairie, it's the end of a kind of simplicity of plans. Because from now until spring, everything we do becomes weather-dependent at a more significant level. And for me, winter driving chicken that I am, plans to travel any distance can be scotched at a moment's notice at the mere hint of an ice storm or impending blizzard. The weather channel, NOAA, and the driving conditions sites on my computer get frequent visits, and if a trip is a must, I am pretty uptight about the whole business until I'm sure it's clear skies and dry roads all the way.
Tomorrow has the makings of one of those days. I am due for a 5 a.m. departure for the Big City three hours from here to attend a workshop. A "wintry mix" had been promised earlier in the week. It now looks more like it might be just rain....but it's supposed to be around 32 degrees at 5 a.m. and even rain right at freezing makes me jumpy. I'm trying to do all those things I tell my clients...stay in today, not worry ahead, deal with it when it comes...yeah I talk a good line....but inside I am anxious and fretful, and also hopping mad that I have to start dealing with this crap in OCTOBER! I picked this workshop specifically because I figured the weather would not be a factor. There I go again, thinking I am in control. What was that phrase? Oh yes, "functional atheism," the belief that I control everything. We do not -- can not -- save ourselves.....I believe I heard that preached somewhere very recently. Apparently I am not listening to my own sermons again.
So once again the seasons change. Some things change with them and some things are constant. The trick, I think, is remembering which is which.