Wednesday, October 16, 2013

turning the corner?

Are we at the point in Fall where the good weeks are behind us and the bare trees and cold winds begin to drive us nuts?

I don't think so. Though many leaves are down, many more are still vaguely green and clinging to trees. Cosmos flowers are blooming their heads off. Nasturtium as well. And why shouldn't they? We haven't had a hard frost yet. (We haven't had any frost in fact. Unusual for mid October.)

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A walk in the garden, then breakfast.

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I study the weather maps. I see that this is it: we're consistently going to be hitting the thirties in the nights ahead. And so decisions have to be made. It is the time to bring in plants that cannot survive a frost. This includes all those that stand in pots by the walkway to the farmhouse.

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But which ones?

In years past, I let them all fade off with the season. Annuals are called annuals for a reason. I was not their savior -- nature deemed that they should retire after a year of blooms. But last year I saw that it was possible to winter over some of the vulnerable stalks by bringing them indoors.  And though things got a little spindly by season's end, we did have some memorable blooms inside in the dead of winter and moreover, when I put those survivors back outside in spring, they really took off! In gratitude I think. Spindly stems turned to a profusion of color and blooms.

Still, I have only so much eastern and southern exposure and things are already getting kind of crowded, what with geraniums and irises and the old regular indoor stuff. So I point a finger -- that one comes in! And that one!

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Okay, one more -- that one!

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And with the heaviest of hearts I turn my back to the ones who don't seem quite vigorous enough. Let your seeds drift, your life will continue in the next generation, I tell them, as if they needed a prompt! Nature has a way of figuring things out without my assistance.

So if Nature calls the shots, can we at least learn to follow meekly in her tracks?

No we cannot.
I look carefully at the weather forecast and, reassured that the probability of rain is set at 0%, I take Rosie to work again.

(Here's a photo from campus for those who know Madison and our tradition of putting flamingos on campus mall in mid-fall.)

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And when I finish teaching, I am dismayed to see a fine drizzle set in.

Why don't they have windshield wipers on helmet visors?

I'm cold and sopping wet. Never mind: each additional week of rosie rides is like a special bonus. One more week behind me and seven to go before the end of the semester. Maybe winter is around the corner, but I'm banking on a few more good weeks ahead. Rain or shine, rosie and I continue to face the winds and forge ahead. Even as it surely looks less promising out there on the ride home. Recall yesterday's view over the lake. Compare it to the one tonight (taken at more or less the same hour).

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