It’s been snowy and dreary in Upstate New York. Here’s the beginning of a little piece I wrote for YourLifeIsATrip.com:
“It was a yak trax morning. Well, lately every morning’s been a yak trax morning because the snow just keeps falling and if I don’t wear those metal coils on my feet, I’ll keep falling as well. I take a walk with my friend Heather at 6:00 a.m. every day. I like to walk with Heather because she owns a reflective vest and I feel like she will be the first to go when we get hit by the salt truck that comes barreling around the corner. Me, I dress in blacks and browns and blend in beautifully with the landscape and the darkness. And during deer hunting season, I don’t go anywhere without Heather because I know I look like a big deer just begging to be shot.
Before we began walking in the pitch black – the shift happened somewhere in December – I used to look for animal tracks in the snow on the sidewalk. One morning I saw deer tracks followed by two sets of kitty tracks, then skunk tracks, and finally rabbit tracks — and this was all on my front sidewalk – leading me to conclude that I must stay awake one night to see if the animals actually meet in front of my house for a party or if they all have someplace to go. Now that it’s dark when I leave the house, I expect to actually run into some of these animals on the sidewalk but except for the long-haired black and white cat named Feisty they’ve all managed to avoid me – I suspect they’re lurking between the houses, waiting for me to pass before continuing with their early morning party scene (to read more click here).
the swamp at dawn
Snow in mid-October blankets our little village. Because many of the leaves are still on the deciduous trees, we were very worried that the weight of the snow — in Freeville we had at least two and a half inches of heavy, wet stuff — would do some serious damage. But it was gone by mid-day.
the backyard on October 16th
The end of summer in Upstate New York is always a bittersweet affair. It’s alternately hot then cold. And when it’s hot we complain bitterly about the heat and the humidity and slouch in our chairs on the porch and weakly wave paper fans on sticks gotten from the Methodist Church on a sultry summer evening years before. And when it’s cold we complain bitterly about the cold and damp and wear sweaters and stomp around and swear because we just know the sweet corn season will be ruined. There is no happy medium.
soon we'll be dealing with snow shovels instead of lawnmovers and rakes
I’ve taken to savoring whatever the weather brings this time of year because life’s too short to complain. When it’s sticky hot out I feel the sweat run down my face and get all live-in-the-moment about the consequences of the humidity. I listen to the late-summer cicadas buzzing away in the treetops and the sounds of neighbors mowing their lawns and wonder why someone would pick the hottest part of the hottest day to push a mower around. If I can muster the energy I walk around the yard and think about all the things I should be doing like watering thirsty plants and plucking spent blossoms from flowers but I usually put all those activities off because it’s too hot. I generally find myself siting at the slightly mossy picnic table placed under the old maple in the backyard and flip through the pages of a magazine while the dog lies in the shade of the tree, head on his crossed paws, eyes trained on me.
Soon the cool days will out-number the hot ones and those moments of sitting at the mossy picnic table will be few and far between. The sweet corn will be a lost-food memory and there will be no more sounds of lawns being mowed. Instead, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the scrape scrape scrape of rakes moving leaves into piles.