Yesterday was a lovely late Summer day. Josephine and I met friends at the Toronto Island Ferry, and then spent the afternoon enjoying Centre Island. Watching Josie and her little friend enjoy the Franklin Children's Garden was perfectly enchanting, and the rides at Centreville and a picnic lunch were pretty great too.
It was idyllic. The kids were exploring, I was chatting with a wonderful friend...why, I only had random moments to think of my grandmother in her new home, perhaps sitting in her wheelchair wondering when the "therapy appointment" she was taken to would end so she could return home. I only thought about that maybe two hundred forty-seven times, in between peaceful, absorbing moments spent watching Josephine play with the truly cool bronze sculptures.
At one point I asked my friend what the date was...because I suspect I've been studiously avoiding knowing it. It was the weather. It was such a great day - not too hot, not too cold. I perhaps perspired maybe once when standing in the direct sun, but otherwise, not only was I comfortable, but the very very pregnant lady with me was too.
That was a hint.
That was foreshadowing.
After having been away the previous weekend, and an activity and adventure-packed beginning of the week, Josie and I have spent hardly any time at all in the back yard. So when I walked outside this morning, with a basket of laundry to hang, and saw this;
I mean it.
You think I'm just being funny. I know you've seen the Halloween items in the stores, the back to school stuff, the Christmas crap too...but have you seen this?
Yes, there it is. A pile. A DRIFT of dry, dessicated, DEAD leaves on my back stairs.
I could ignore that, I could. Because the sun was shining and it was warm and I had to squint.
And then I looked down again.
Damn. No denying it.
So I started hanging the laundry, and then pinks and yellows of Josie's summer clothes suddenly looked obscene to my eyes. I put them to the side, to be discreetly tumbled dry and perhaps pulled out on another day, if maybe the fall leaves should magically disappear, like even tomorrow or next week maybe. Perhaps a day when I might be more prepared to deny that...Autumn is on its way. Oh, it was plenty warm today - I could have pretended it was still Summer. But no. It's too true. It's not going to happen. Shorts will do - no longer will whisper thin sundresses will be necessary to simply be able to breathe. Fall. Coming. Soon.
So the blues seemed so much more appropriate.
As I reached the bottom of the basket, and saw our sneakers piled in there waiting to be shaped and dried, a leaf fluttered in.
Hah! Got you! Fluttering in would be poignant and perhaps picturesque. That leaf dive bombed the basket, and when it hit the wet canvas, it spread out like a starfish on the beach in an attempt to soak up the summery feel of drying comfortable shoes. Then, it taunted me by saying, "Hey! Didn't you just buy a new pair of Rocket Dogs on your last trip to Buffalo? And you've only worn them twice? And you have new party shoes! Black straw party shoes - oh so Summery! Why did you think they were on sale? Because it's FALL, you knob!" and then I may have muttered something about how those high-heeled platform loafers, even though they weren't discounted, would have been more in contention if I'd only glanced out the back door before I set off for Buffalo. I do believe that then the leaf made some kind of rude gesture that wiped every last bit of pleasure remaining from that heady hour in DSW Shoe Warehouse, then it scurried into the corner of the basket, knowing that I hate smart-assed leaves. So I told it how I did consider the Charles David four inch pumps with the pointe ballerina toes that were 80% off, but that pregnancy left me with half a shoe size larger than I used to be and that a pinky toe amputation would eat up all the savings. And how I am a grown-up, responsible, smart person who knows better than to buy absolutely gorgeous shoes that are a half-size too small, because I have been hurt enough in this life and I do not need the agony of self-inflicted pinchy toes. I have killer BCBG stilettos for that.
Then I turned my back on that dry heave of nature, and began to do a bit of a quick yard clean-up.
Oh dear...my charmingly rusty and battered assortment of pots, when barren, only look sad and trashy - not charming and rustic and quirky.
I have to go and buy cute little flowering kales and stuff for them now, don't I? Maybe even...gasp...mini evergreens?
Then I trimmed a few overgrown things, pulled up the tomato plants that provided some lovely tomatoes...that the raccoons enjoyed. And, trepidatiously, I approached the gooseberries. That...that...plant. It has a taste for my blood. For all the years I've had it, it has only produced two berries. And yet I hope, I sometimes hope with a pure and vibrant gleam of keen desire, that one day I will be glad to have it because it will be fruitful and nourishing. As I attempted to cut it back just a little, I silently pleaded with it not to hurt me again. But of course, not content merely to scratch my forearm as usual, or perhaps send a branch down to swipe my cheek or tangle in my hair and dig into my scalp -- it slyly went for a tender part. My damn foot. The arch of my damn foot - speared by a tiny dry branch I'd dropped. Why yes, it IS silly to garden in knit slippers. I know that NOW.
I limped across the yard and decided to cut my last blooming rose, and maybe some mint to put in vases and make my kitchen smell nice. The sun was shining through the window on my desk, and I wanted to put something in my Grandma's vase. It will always be her vase, even though it's in my home now.
Upon closer inspection, the lone rose's stem had been bent and almost broken off short. Where? Right where Boo Boo jumps down from the neighbour's fence, that's where.
M: Boo Boo. Get off the couch, then please tell my why you always gotta wreck my things. That was my last rose!
B: It was either that or get stabbed by one of your frigging gooseberry thorns.
M: You know, I can't argue with you there. I'm sorry Boo. Go back to your nap. Want some Pounce?
I puttered some more, all the while keeping up a conversation with Josephine. It seems that I was not the only one who was suffering. Poor Teddy Bear Blue. His philtrum was hurting him.
Josephine insisted that this required my sympathy and real attention - not more "mmm-hmming and oh reallying", I picked him up for a cuddle, and whispered in his round loopy cloth ear "Suck it up Buddy Boy. I just got maimed by a gooseberry thorn, and if the pain doesn't keep me from wearing my cute new shoes, the fact that the season is changing too rapidly for my liking will. I'm feeling a bit mean about it, and suggest you quit your moaning before I accidentally introduce you to my thorny little friend over there." And then I said aloud, "Hey Josephine! Teddy bear says he needs a nap to make his philtrum feel better. Let's leave him outside and go in and play dress up!"
And so we shut the door on Fall encroaching. I'll admit, that for lunch, after the noodles had boiled, for a moment I thought about chopping up some red onion, celery, red pepper and carrot in order to make a cold pasta salad. But then, I thought, well, a tussle with nature's seasonal inevitability is not a fight I can win. So I added some chicken, Parmesan and tomato sauce and served it hot. Because Autumn means cosy food!
And I thought about how maybe there'd be one more really hot day where the shoes, with a little black skirt and top would be perfect - with a cashmere sweater over my shoulders for evening. There's still some time before we really need to consider fall shoes, isn't there?