November and the finish line ahead…

Ah, there you are…

Like an old friend showing up after a long absence, you have arrived, bringing with you, as September and October started before you, so many glorious changes. As only you can do, you prepare us for grumpy, old winter ahead. 

Where we live here in northern Illinois, most of the leaves have either fallen, or those “reluctant” ones are on the brink of doing so. It has been a time of raking and rounding up those evasive brown and golden leaves that have detached themselves from the branches overhead, leaving the sugar maple in our front yard naked and alone, ready for the winter ravages that cannot be that far away. img_6672-1

Even though our temperatures have been consistently in the 60s and 70s for an extended unseasonable stretch recently, we know very well that it will not last for very much longer. Those of us who wear shorts whenever possible are aware that it will be “jeans and sweatshirt” weather sooner than we think, so we enjoy this while we can. Those mornings that feel more like a Florida- “Spring Break”-kind, instead of the Midwest model, will be fond and distant memories before we realize it.

Regardless, as nice as it has been—being spoiled with not having to wear too many clothes and keeping the furnace off this time of the year—late autumn has always been my favorite part of the year. Among other things, I love the transformation of nature from September and October before “handing things off” to November, who, like the “anchor leg” runner in a relay, gets us to–and past–the finish line and the inevitable winter ahead.

I could go on, but I’ll close with these thoughts: I kind of like winter, too! And spring and summer.Thank heavens we have the changing seasons. Now, we should all take a breath and realize that it’s a beautiful world around us. We need to pause and appreciate it whenever and however we can. I’m thinking that Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough in a few weeks. I will write about that–my favorite holiday–very soon.

Until next time, enjoy November as it carries us to the finish line ahead!

Staying Ahead of the Grass…

It just didn’t seem right. Here I was, pushing the broadcast lawn spreader across my front and back yards yesterday morning, dressed in gym shorts and t-shirt, and working up a pretty good summer sweat. Only thing is, it was March 21! And stranger than that, I discovered that I’m already pretty much behind in my grounds keeping “duties,” as the grass needs to be cut right away.

As I made my way diligently back and forth and around the greensward, I began to visualize the dilemmas that this unseasonable stretch of “summer” weather has created. First, despite the fact that the grass needs its initial mowing (nearly a month earlier than normal), it was out of the question because my old John Deere walk-behind was still in winter hibernation in my son’s shed eleven miles from here. Also, all of the fluids were drained from it last November, and it has not had it’s “beginning-of-the-season” clean up/ tune up in at the dealer/service shop.

Usually, we haul our mowers in for this annual service in very early April, but I realized that we couldn’t wait that long, leading me to understand that my son and I needed to extricate our mowers from their respite in his shed and load them onto my Ford Ranger and deliver them to the service shop ASAP–Right now!

So now, twenty-four hours later, the mowers are on their way, courtesy of the good wife, who agreed to drop them off at the shop on her way to work, and we can keep our fingers crossed that they can get serviced before the grass completely grows out of control in this most strange and quirky weather pattern.

This unusual weather here in northern Illinois (and everywhere else, it seems) has been a wonderful and welcomed relief from “what could have been.” Our furnace hasn’t run in weeks. We have fresh air wafting through the house daily, because we can have all the windows and doors open. We haven’t had the drudgery of donning heavy coats, hats, gloves, or boots.

There are so many positives to come out of this, and we all should view this as a gift of good fortune and stop looking over our collective shoulders wondering when reality is going to catch up with us. Let’s just enjoy it.

Now, if we can just stay ahead of the grass!…CortlandWriter