I am not as nostalgic about the past as many people. I had a difficult and often unpleasant childhood. It’s hard to put aside the unhappy childhood memories to find happy ones. They get tangled up.
Maple along the Blackstone
It is in the autumn where good memories live on. That perpetual autumn I can sometimes smell in the air as October arrives. It is probably why I love this season. Fall signals the return to school and what passed for “normal” in my world.
I was a New Yorker. I’m sure it was cooler there 50 plus years ago than it is today. Especially in the fall.
And, I loved school. I know this was not a popular point of view in the kid world, but I loved it. Home kind of sucked.
Crunchy on the lawn by the river
School was better. Orderly. I had assignments. Things to learn. Teachers didn’t beat students and there were very few moments of sheer terror with which to cope. Unlike home at home.
In generating fear, schoolyard bullies were amateurs compared to my father.
The thing I remember best and most fondly were the sound of the leaves crunching under my squeaky new leather shoes. The shoes always gave me blisters, no matter what salesmen in stores told my mother about the perfect fit.
I don’t know why she believed them when they told her the shoes fit, but never believed me when I told her they hurt.
Colors by the Blackstone. Photo: Garry Armstrong
Fall seems to be shrinking and disappearing. It is the most saddening part of climate change in this region. To lose the season that always brought me joy is very sad and I hope we can bring it back.
At least we are still getting some of it. Not like we used to, but a week is better than nothing.
As we have been repairing the house, I’ve also been rearranging the house. Three crates of dolls have moved into storage. The organ is gone. The big dining table has be folded up — it is a drop-leaf — into its smallest size and become where the plants live in the light of the east-facing window.
Finally finished front door
Photo: Garry Armstrong — Finished new wall
Owen brought over a small dining table today. It will, when open, seat six and if there are more people than that, it will be a sideboard and everyone can find a place to sit and eat. It’s hard to explain how very much I wanted someplace in this house where I could walk three steps without bumping into something.
The front woods
I’m waiting for my next large box to recommence boxing up the medium-sized dolls.
Autumn through the dining room French doors
So these two pictures: the first was shot on an SD chip I’d forgotten to remove from the camera. It waited for me. The other was taken today. Finally, a room that has floor space!
A quiet place to sit and maybe a place for a computer, too
New gutters, from the deck
Meanwhile, it would appear that we are now also under siege from raccoons. When all the birds and squirrels are tucked into bed for the night, the raccoons strike.
I really wanted to feed the birds, but it appears I’m feeding everything.
We don’t get four seasons. We get three. Summer — hot, sticky, and buggy, but at least it’s warm. Okay, a lot of humidity, but you have to take the good with the bad.
I had been hoping we’d more Autumn, and we did. It was short — just about a week — but glorious for that week. Which is good because it’s only the first week in November and they are predicting snow. I don’t think we’ll get any here, but it would not be a surprise. I can remember many years when it snowed before Thanksgiving and stayed snowy until Summer showed up.
Sometimes we get a second Autumn in November that lasts until after Christmas. Last year, it lasted until March, at which point we had three blizzards in a row. The snow hung around until the trees began to bloom after which we got two months of heavy rains and wind. No climate change here!
Last week it was pretty warm, but right now, it’s cold. Very cold.
House in summer
Summer by the Blackstone
Autumn by the river and canal
Now those are Autumn specials! – Photo: Garry Armstrong
Photo: Garry Armstrong –Winter at home
Junco atop the Toad
No pictures of spring because that’s a season we don’t really get. It’s winter, then summer. We always HOPE for spring, though. Even though we know it isn’t happening, we figure maybe one year it will.
You never know, right?
A provocative question today that I think currently means very little. It probably meant something 200-years ago, but now? I doubt it.
Here’s the question:
Personally? I think we reached it years ago — probably at least 50 years ago — and we are already in the throes of it. It did not need to become a net negative, but because of other issues — politics being the obvious one but also human greed, corporate greed, and a refusal to believe that the world was not made to accommodate us and when we push its boundaries hard enough, it will, in its own way, push back.
We have a dying world. We have a horribly over-inflated belief in humanity’s place in this world. And it will come to pass — is already coming to pass — that we shall discover how unimportant we really are. We are mosquitoes sitting on the back of a world that is getting ready to take a dip in waters lethal to our kind.
We shall be cleaned out and slowly but surely vanish. The planet will survive and recover in its own way. Whether or not that recovery leaves room for our kind? I’m not overly optimistic about it. While we are making enormous progress on one level, we are destroying what needs to be saved at the same time. It won’t do us any good to create a green world when we have already destroyed the greenery.
We can try, but we’d better start trying a whole lot harder than we currently are. Because I don’t think we can call a time out on the changes we have created and the desolation it is likely to bring.
Sorry for not sounding more chipper and cheery. If someone has something chipper and cheery to add that is based on science and not a personal opinion, shout it out.
It’s the last day of October and most of the trees are bare. It has been raining all week and last night’s wind and rain finally finished off the trees. So, in this vintage version of the old Inn around the corner, we say gooodbye and hope that winter is more kindly this year.
Photo by Garry Armstrong, processing by Marilyn Armstrong.
The 1700s Inn at at the end of our road. It has been added to, but the basic building remains. Until recently, it was a restaurant. Maybe it will be again.
Hard to imagine October is done. Finito. My favorite month. The only thing about it I don’t like is that winter is right behind it.
The cold is closing in quickly. I don’t have a good feeling about this winter. Last year, we had basically “late Autumn” until March. Then it snowed like mad for a few weeks. The rest of the season was not snowy. We had a lot of rain and mud and ice, but hardly any snow until my birthday.
Woods and fence blizzard
Welcome to my 72 birthday. It was a 15-inch blizzard. And there I was, thinking we were going to get through winter without snow. One year (during the past 20) we had a snow-free winter, but the following year we had so much snow we had to have our roof shoveled three times to keep it from caving in.
That’s the really bad part of really good attic insulation. The heat from the house never gets to your roof, so the tons of snow never melts. Each subsequent snow piles on top of earlier blizzards.
The winters of 2015 and 2016 were both like living in Mongolia or maybe Antarctica. One of our cars (we had two back then) was literally buried. You literally could not see it. Driving down our narrow roads was like driving in a tunnel with the snow 10 feet high on both sides from the plowing. I remember when Kaity was very young and she asked if the giant piles of snow and ice were going to become glaciers which they were studying in school.
I explained that I didn’t think so, but who could tell anymore?
Nonetheless, this is still nominally October, so let’s think orange and pumpkin-flavored donuts.
And then there are some more:
Big red tree and little white house
Autumn memories of Europe
The golden wall by the bridge
Steps to the Canal
Square fence by the river