Today, as I was musing on our first fall here in the 1970s, I went outside and rescued my fall chrysanthemums. The temperature dropped into the mid 20s last night and they sat our our porch, sentinels of the season, freezing their roots off.
I know a lot of plants don’t mind the freezing weather as much as I think they should but I always worry. When I looked out the door at the drooping heads of my flowers I thought, “poor dears, the cold got them.” When scoped them up to bring them in I realized it was not the cold but my forgetting to water them that made their heads drop. They are sitting in the utility sink, snug, warm and wet. Tomorrow I will put them back outside for them to enjoy the bright fall days we are having.
The sky was so blue today that I had to close the curtain in front of my desk in order to see my computer screen. As quick as a bunny the sky is steely and absorbed in its own seasonal cloud-play.
When we first moved her in the 1970s, we had only been married a few months. We had spent a couple of years of year-round backpacking together so we were no babes in the woods when it came to sleeping outdoors. We had done those nights so hot you could not even lie on the top of your sleeping bag without getting stuck to it. We had done those when you are so cold that you put every stitch of clothing you have on, including your boots, and climb into your sleeping bag curled into a tight ball shivering and praying for sunrise.
Our first house here was one of those that Jack built. Across the years people kept tacking on a room here and one there until the bathroom became the hall and the only heat was in the kitchen which was close to the bathroom so the pipes would not freeze. Our bedroom had no heat. We slept on a waterbed those days and it had a heater in it so we could stay comfortable through some pretty wide temperature swings. We did not own a comforter so we used my spouse’s 10 year old sleeping bag, unzipped, for a coverlet that covered the middle part of the bed.
I liked sleeping in a cool room we I left the room’s small window open. One night that fall, like last night, the temperatures plummeted. The next morning I awoke with a start to find my spouse, beard frozen, nuzzling me awake. With an innocent voice said, “Honey, can we close the window now?” We closed the window and I kept a closer eye on him.
It is a story told over and over every time bringing smiles to people as they remember the story since it feels that we were all there together.
This new house does not yet have any memories quite like that yet but they will appear and when they do we will save them to tell over and over until they belong not just to us but to everyone who hears them.