: autumn or fall? :

Neither. I call this the pre-party to Hell freezing over: winter in Illinois.

In polite company, though, I generally use fall; I find it’s more descriptive. I mean, the temperatures fall, the leaves fall, the light falls, and my spirits, oy, they don’t fall so much as plummet. They rain down like space junk — aaaaaaaaaaahsplat.

Poets and lyricists, however, they prefer autumn. It sounds more romantic, more poetic than plain, old fall. But what, I ask, is romantic about a season defined as “a period of maturity verging on decline” by the American Heritage Dictionary (Fourth Edition)? That sounds more like a sell-by-date than something belonging in verse.

Autumn, I’m sure, would be more popular if it was followed by the delight that is spring. You know, if nature’s cycle went spring, summer, fall, and then right back to spring again. But where’s winter, you wonder? The Arctic Circle, that’s where. The North Pole, the South Pole, Toyland, Siberia, Iceland, places that need sub-zero temperatures and blizzards and icicles and frozen nose hairs. It doesn’t belong here with me. Or I don’t belong here with it — I’d like to live on the equator.

Winter is a bully. Winter is my nemesis. Winter is an endurance test.

Knowing it’s in the wings, feeling its cold, damp breath on my neck is a dreadful, discouraging sensation. I can’t enjoy the bright, bursting colors of the trees or the brittle, papery whisper of leaves skittering along sidewalks or the brisk wind rattling the windowpanes. I can’t. They’re unwelcome reminders of what’s coming next. And soon.

The dog and I, we took our farewell tour of the great outdoors this weekend. We strolled along the bluff above the river, taking pictures and forging bittersweet memories of a time that didn’t cause hypothermia and frostbite and chilblains. There’s a tragic, fleeting loveliness to these waning days, isn’t there? I will mourn their passing.

Before long I’ll be confining myself to the stale, climate-controlled environs of indoors, under a self-imposed house arrest, venturing out only for food and emergencies and an occasional latte. I’ve laid in a stash of books. I’m phat with blankets and long johns and thick, woolly socks. I will survive, but I’ll curse every damn snowflake.

Copyright © publikworks 2012

18 thoughts on “: autumn or fall? :

  1. My electric blanket is set up on the bed, and I worked at my desk with a heating pad on my lap. Yes, the big chill is returning. If only the soundtrack was as good as the one in the movie, eh? Meh. No, it would still be cold.
    I feel your pain. That is, I would feel your pain, if my fingers were not already numb.

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    1. I’m thrilled to report a rare burst of warmth lately. The last few days have been in the 70s, woohoo. They’ve been gray and rainy, but oh-so-mild. Now, if we could only keep this up until April I’d be a happy, happy camper : )

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  2. And here we are considering moving from Texas to the Seattle area. It’s nearly 90 degrees here today; 50 degrees in Washington. Slap some sense into me Lisa. Please. Metaphorically or otherwise, whatever does the trick.

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    1. I have some friends in the Seattle area. They love it there. My sister used to live there, and moved to Texas to be with the rest of the family. She still misses the place. :-) She does not, however, miss the damp!

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        1. Yep, it’s beautiful up there. Still, that sunshine thing might indeed be a problem. At least in Illinois you have daylight to enjoy while you’re shivering in your three pairs of socks!

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    2. Don’t do it, Jo. Your hair will either turn frizzy or flat, depending, and you’ll start to mold. Besides, cold is even more penetrating when there’s high humidity, remember? Although I hear the coffee’s good.

      What about your farm, though? What will it do without you? What will you do without it? Oh, my, now I’m worried.


      1. Crazily enough, we’re thinking about retirement of sorts. Since we’re still too young (a phrase I so rarely have occasion to use) to retire, we want to at least shrink our farming operation down a notch or three and are thinking about going “up north” to Washington State to do it. Yet I hadn’t thought about the hair! Wow. Mold I might be able to handle, but frizz?

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  3. Here in Texas, you might not think it gets very bad, but lemme tell y’all – there ain’t nothing between us and Canada but a barbed-wire fence in South Dakota, and that’s been down for ages. ;-D

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