You know, usually I walk much earlier and by 9:00 would be finishing up four or five miles, but the sudden drop in degrees was indirectly involved with Friday's late start. I had the furnace guy coming early.
Yeah, I looked at the weather predictions earlier in the week and they all said the warmth was going to drop off the cliff by weekend and into the next several days, along with rain and rain and, you guessed it, rain. We needed the rain and many felt we needed a break from the blaze of summer sun and those high-eighty and ninety thermometer readings. We need a period of cool down. But that also said to me I might need turn on the heater.
The heater had been off since the end of spring and as a result my power bills had been down considerably. Sure, we aren't masochists suffering the sauna of summer. We do keep the A/C purring or roaring, but several years ago we turned away from that gobbler of kilowatts called central air to window units. Why cool the whole house when you live only in a room here and there? It was surprising the savings during those air conditioned months once we made that switch. However, 'tis a whole other tune once you snap that setting from cool to heat and the furnace begins chugging down natural gas.
I like to avoid that rising bill as long as possible, but I knew the Little Woman would not be as interested in our pocket book as her shivering through the days ahead, so turning on the furnace was a for certain. As I mentioned, it hadn't been on for months and dust would be gathering inside and who knows what, plus the filter hadn't been changed now for a year, which is how long it is supposed to last. At any rate, I called my furnace keeper-upper, William G. Day Co. I switched to them about three years ago and found them very accommodating. I had used Horizon Services for decades, but it was time for a switch, but that is a tale for another time.
Anyway, the Day Company lady told me they could have a guy there to clean and maintain my furnace on Friday as his first scheduled job of the day. This is what I like about them, they come quickly. He was there by 7:45 AM and done by a bit after 8:30. Great, over and done and the furnace is ready for another winter.
I still didn't get out of the house until 9:00, which is where we began this whole shebang talking about the difference a day makes.
I went up to Rockwood that Friday. It was 54, as stated, dreary with a light drizzle. Nonetheless, I wore shorts. I did pull on a long-sleeve sweatshirt upon arrival in the parking lot and I was good to go and fine for the four mile hike. My legs take chill better than the rest of me so the shorts were no discomfort at all...on Friday.
Not so much this morning.
Saturday began as dreary gray as yesterday, but it wasn't raining when I headed out about
7:30, a time still a bit later than I'd usually go. Temperature was a bit lower at 52, but somehow the day was a lot colder. I wore my long workout pants and my sweatshirt, and at the park I pulled on a light jacket and my wooly hat. That is what wind will do to you.
It is what makes weather so tricky. You can go out in summer with a bright, uncovered sun and mercury saying it's 90 plus degrees and walk without a sweat if the humidity is 50 and a breeze is blowing. Take away that wind and make the humidity around 70 and you are oozing perspiration within a few steps.
This morning was very breezy and that made it more miserable than yesterday's rain.
The wind had whipped all night and the paths were strewn with downed leaves and other debris. Just off the footbridge over the little creek was a downed branch and broken glass. The falling limb had taken out a streetlamp.
I walked up and around the Carriage house and then through the Kitchen Garden.
Seemingly out of place now in this gloom and chill, roses still bloomed defying the change of season.
But it started me thinking, to contemplating the change. These red blossoms would soon fade and wither and all this green surrounding me would be gone. In a mere couple months this place will be brown and bleak, bare naked trees and undressed bushes and the slate gray skies so common to November would greet me. I in turn would not be near naked in but t-shirts and shorts, but dressed in layers of heavy clothes that would add weight to my every step and bog me down and restrict my movement.
The year was cycling through now. Most of the activities of this place were done. The sleep under the stars in the meadow and the Ice Cream Festival at the birth of summer seemed distant now. Packed away were the costumes and props and stage of the August Shakespeare festival, Just ended last Sunday was the annual Faerie Fest. The remnants of this last fling of a sweeter season remained in disarray. Chalked hopscotch grids were washing away in all these rains and the winds of autumn had played havoc to the childhood dreams tied upon the wishing bridge, the letter washed away and the now blank cards littering the landscape.
There were hay bails near the carriage house, perhaps part of the haunted tours that are
beginning to mark the coming Hallowe'en Soon they will construct a spooky graveyard up before the mansion, complete with coffins and skeletons and dire warnings. But like the evil spirits let loose for that one night, this to would fade after All Saint's Day and then the brittle brown leaves would cover those spaces and the trails and the winds would come with hints of winter on their breath.
There will be a brief retrieve from the darkness as the clocks turn back to end Daylight savings time on the First of November. Once Rockwood has tucked away the faux tombstones and barrage of bats and plastic bones of the ghoulish dead, they will begin the stringing of light garlands from tree bough to tree bough in preparation for the Holiday Open House on the beginning weekend of December. And soon enough about the country side as the curtain of autumn falls complete and frost forms across the pumpkin patches, more lights will flash awake. For a few weeks we will put off thoughts of anything but the gaiety and joy of the Christmas season, at least the majority of us will. We will have our streets ablaze not
only with the red and green and whatever other color may be mingled in among the white of candles, and perhaps many will turn toward the hope and salvation promised beneath all the merchandising and tinsel and jingling bells of sidewalk Santas. Perhaps a few will get the message of what Christ really brings to us as a gift. Perhaps for those few weeks much of the hate and chaos that seems to grow more virulent each day will subside somewhat and we may even have some good will among men.
The bells of New Year will sound, the horns will be blown and the drunks will weave into another month and another Winter will fall upon us like a cold shroud. The bright lights will be snapped off. Days will be short and cold and the forest a dead zone, the months of bleakness.
And I guess I'm growing old. There is a weariness I feel too often now and I want to sleep too much. I remember how I pondered my father constantly nodding off when the family got together the last several years of his life. Just as the world goes through its cycle and nature seems to slumber off before a new birth of Spring, so do our bodies run down to extended nap times in our fading decades. Our seasons change and mine is sliding slowly into its winter. That is not a sad thing, it is nature and I never look back in regret, just always looking ahead to the future as I live in each moment of time, for the present hour actually is, no matter our chronological age, the only time we really have.