Autumnal

Some would say today is a perfect fall day. The temperature is almost chilly. The humidity is zero. The rain yesterday washed away summer and brought us here. To fall. The trill of cicadas is gone, leaving only busy crows and crickets. It’s lovely in its way. But autumn to me is like the beauty that lies within something dying. Leaves changing colors means they’ll soon drop to the ground and leave behind the skeletons of trees. Dried up sunflowers mean the seeds are ready for birds to eat but also that it’s time to pull them up and toss them in the disused pasture. It’s about time to pull everything up and prepare for the worst of all seasons: winter. Close up shop. Batten down the hatches. Turn in.

I am making an effort to find good things about fall. One surprising one: high school football games. I know. Who woulda thunk?

Dusty played in her first game on Friday with the marching band. I volunteered to work in the concession stand. I spent 5 hours prepping burgers and hot dogs with a congenial group of marching band parents – some I’d never met before, others I knew from scouts or just from living here and being a parent for 12 years. It was fun but it meant I couldn’t see the band play. Or really hear them, apart from the drums and the loudest horns. Most likely tubas but I couldn’t really tell. It was a long day for all us. But everyone was having a good time. We pretty much sold out of food.

Next Friday there’s another game and I’d like to see the band play (still couldn’t give two hoots for football – there’s a limit) so I think Red and I will go and be part of the crowd. All the concerts we attended this summer have made us excellent spectators.

The game capped off the first week of school. We all had to learn how to get up early and out the door at the same time again. I drive them to their respective schools – across the street from one another; where they have learned to navigate new hallways and multiple new teachers – and then I arrive at work early to a quiet building. A blessing. It’s different. It’s not bad.

The after-school band practices have meant long days. We’ll soon begin to eat one dinner a week in the college dining hall (bonus: no dishes to wash!). Next Tuesday, while Dusty’s at practice, Red and I will walk her school schedule and I’ll meet her teachers. Long days, home by dark, the evening begins to close in on us earlier and earlier. Less down time, less homework time. And I wish I could say it’ll ease off after Thanksgiving but Dusty handed me the schedule for symphonic band and….it’ll just go on and on. Forever.

Another good thing: Daylight saving time – the bane of my existence – will end eventually and give us back that hour we so desperately need.

And another good thing: yoga class. I went to my first yoga class last week in ages. It was nice. But it means another late day. We’ll see how long I can keep it up. I have a number of new projects to work on and I’m thinking, again, about the abandoned novel. When it gets cold outside, I’ll turn to that. And my quilt project. Keeping busy is the key to getting through the winter.

Also: the cooler weather means I can get out and walk again. By July, it had gotten too hot for even a quick mid-day walk around campus. Now, I need to remember to pack my walking shoes again.

So for now, I’ll try to enjoy this change and perhaps I can mow the grass a few more times and not get heat stroke. I’ve planted some lettuce on the deck. I need to freeze my basil before frost hits. But, it’s all good. I’m feeling good. We’re in a good place. Even if it’s no longer summer.

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