On the seasons and such

On the seasons and such.

Autumn in Northern New York is unequalled for beauty. As I write this it is late September. Some hardy souls (OK, I mean me) are still swimming in the river, and can emerge from the cool water to pick apples from some long untended tree near the secret swimming hole. The colors of the leaves and the sky are legendary. The nights are good for sleeping.

The legendary leaf colors are justifiably famous. When I was in England as an exchange student, I became excited when October came because I enjoy the autumn colors so much. But they didn’t come. Hmm, I though, perhaps with the more mild climate, the colors will be later. I concentrated on my studies and didn’t give it too much thought. Then I realized it was December and most of the leaves had already fallen. They were a nasty dull brown, even grey, with none of the vibrance of the leaves at home in the Adirondacks.

I wouldn’t live anywhere that doesn’t have winter. Even though I am not good at winter. I don’t ski. I have a house designed with a flat porch roof which necessitates my walking on it after every snow storm to shovel it off. (Then my friends berate me over Facebook for doing something so dangerous. However, in the 12 years I have lived here no one has shown up with a shovel.) I have Reynaud’s Syndrome, which means my hands and feet get little circulation and numbness turns to agony quickly.

To my mother, there was no such thing as bad weather for gardening. It was a matter of doing the right thing for the season and weather you had. A hot, dry day was as  good for weeding as cold rain was to transplant perennials.  And it is rare, in Northern New York, to have the weather go on for a long time without changing, so she never became impatient with the weather.

I still like the seasons and like that even in our days of technology my life is planned very much around their changing.

I like that as the days grow shorter, the leaves fall—so I can still hang the laundry out. There is less shade in the fall in my backyard, so it evens out the shorter time of daylight.

I like that from June to September there is some kind of fruit happening in my postage-stamp sized garden. The strawberries arrive in June, the raspberries in July and September. I am sufficiently lazy that I prefer what I can walk 10 paces to get instead of driving to the store, so that means that the things I cook and the things my child has for lunch very much depend on the time of year.

In the fall I start to bake again, and realize, every year, that I baked less when it was hot, and that I missed it. But every summer I enjoy that my snacks are raw, quickly obtained and served and just as quickly gone. In the winter, I marvel at what I froze in the summer. I can be as scatterbrained as a squirrel and am delighted when I realize I remembered to preserve that corn I got from the Farmers’ Market one day.

Today I am baking bread before work. The heat will make the kitchen cozy for when my daughter gets up. Then one of us will go to the garden for raspberries for her oatmeal.

And I share this on a blog. I love that no matter how far technology takes me, it doesn’t ever take me far from my garden.


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