There is something supremely unsettling about weather which hits at the absolutely wrong time. I guess that weather is the background of our lives in many ways. For me, the weather, and the natural world around me, seem to keep me grounded in time and place. Although they are usually only part of my subconscious, I guess I rely on temperature, daylight, the look of the trees to tell me where and when I am moving through my life.
Don’t you think that if you somehow fell asleep for weeks or months, you would immediately recognize the time of year when you woke up? Don’t you think you’d breathe in that hot, moist, green grassy smell and think “July!”? Or you’d look at the clear deep blue sky, pull in a lungful of burning cold dry air, and say, “January.”, with a shiver?
One look at the golden brown grass and slightly burnished leaves, and you’d recognize September in New England. The spring has its own set of smells and sounds, from the “peeper frogs” to the smell of rain on the newly thawed earth. No matter what happens, you can’t get lost in time or place as long as nature cooperates and sticks to the script.
Which is why the past 48 hours have been so disorienting.
The grass was still green 48 hours ago. The garden still held some red and gold flowers, and I hadn’t had time to cut back the dying stalks of the lillies and foxtails. The oak and maple and beech leaves were still on the trees, glowing bright red and yellow in the October sun. It was pumpkin season! The candles that I lit after dinner had names like “Warm Apple Pie” and “Spiced Cinnamon.” It was time for candy corn, dried gourds, apple picking, orange and black decorations.
Then Mother Nature gave a hiccup, and the snow began to fall. And fall. And fall. Two full feet of snow, swirling in the wind and stacking up on the deck. The air was cold, and crisp. The sky was leaden gray. When we looked out quickly, we felt the full affect of “December”. Until the red and gold of the leaves began to peek out from that icy frosting.
We shovelled and scraped, and spent the day thinking about ice melt and boots. Candy canes and evergreen boughs. And pumpkin pie.
Today is Halloween. I am home from school on a snow day.
I am totally dislocated in time. The bad news: I will most likely never get my bulbs planted this fall. The good news: I started my Christmas shopping yesterday.
I think I’ll go have some candy corn and hot chocolate.