Oh, yeah—this again

Cat on heat vent. Photo: kidmissile, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cat on heat vent. Photo: kidmissile, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

And just like that, the cat curls up in front of the heat register, I want hot water—not cold—to wash my hands and I put on a jacket before leaving for work.

Somehow, this feels more right than the opposite transition in spring. When I stop wearing the coat in April, I fumble for weeks trying to find a place to put all those things that fit so easily in all those pockets.

When I first moved here years ago, people described North Country cold with the wonderfully succinct: “nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding weather.”

No, it’s not like that anymore, but this is still a wintry place. Heat and humidity are the anomalies, brief like life and bookended by long, dark cold.

The buzz of summer visitors—from mosquito to Manhattanite—will soon leave us. Our tribe of hardy and flannel-clad stoics will send up thin wisps of steam and smoke, from hot coffee, chainsaws and woodstoves—and our own mouths. And this, just as much as a blossom or splash in the lake, is proof of life. But the contrast is clearer in winter. Everything is.

As the leaves start falling, we’re getting into the season of seeing through. And for us, that’s getting back to normal.

 

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2 Responses to “Oh, yeah—this again”

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  1. Michael Greer says:

    I think you exaggerate Jonathan. I too experienced that feeling of impending doom this week, but I blamed it on having worn shoes and socks for the first time in three months, and I got over it by the next day. Our summers are longer and longer here, and my garden proves it to me every year. What was once a 90 day frost free period has grown to 120 or even 150 days, and our garden planting is all done by Memorial day.. Two years ago, we picked green beans until the second week of October. Right now, the trees are still all green.
    It’s not just the summers that are noticeably different. Last winter felt like a good, old-time winter, but the year before was largely without snow. The fall was super long, and spring began just after Christmas. The skis were all forgotten in the garage, and we wore our yak-tracks and mud boots for months.
    So don’t get carried away, looking for winter. turn the furnace off and don’t give the cat any reason to lay around for at least another month. Take Jimmy Carters advice and put on a sweater. The best season of the year is just about to begin.

  2. Jonathan Brown says:

    No feelings of doom, Michael-

    I love this time of year. The cooler temps, changing leaves and all they portend.

    And, for the most part, I’ve seen what you’ve seen with the longer summers and autumns. All the snow we had last winter was a corrective for the awful — and almost snow-less — winter of 11-12. I don’t know where you are in the Adirondack North Country, but on the roads between Canton and Potsdam and the northern Adirondacks, the leaves are starting to change.

    So, it’s not that I’m looking for winter, I’m looking forward to it. I know it’s coming. So does the cat and I could no more turn off the furnace than convince her to not lay around.

    You and I are in perfect agreement, though, on the best season of the year. It’s right now—and it will last until the first mosquito of spring.

    Thanks-

    Jonathan