Friday, November 26, 2010

Broken Tradition

Though it had been a tradition only a few years old, yesterday the old Thanksgiving ride to the cemetery was cancelled because of the lousy weather here. I still visited the family graves, but in the car, and while I was paying my respects I saw and felt the first snowflakes of the season.

As the day went on the snow got worse, eventually accumulating on the cars and soft surfaces. Though the roads and sidewalks still held sufficient warmth to stave off the build up of the falling flakes I was glad that I remained prudent and didn't take the scooter out. I might have been safe enough, but I'd have been riding scared and wouldn't have enjoyed the ride at all if I'd taken it. The forecast for today, Black Friday, fared better, so all in all I'm glad I waited to ride till this afternoon when the skies cleared and the sun reacquainted itself with Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Well, the sun's light that is; its warmth was a different story. A bit of wind made the mid 40's feel a bit nippier but still pleasant for a much needed escape. I'm glad the TSA guys who feel folks up at the airports don't do random checkpoints on streets and highways or I'd have been a sure candidate for the full body search looking like this.

Not wanting to venture far from the house lest a turkey induced nap suddenly demand my attention, I visited a few of my usual summer haunts. First was the park where I occasionally blogged with the laptop a couple of summers ago. As I walked around looking for a decent picture angle, the BV reminded me of a little kid wistfully longing for admittance to the locked playground when viewed from this vantage point. It wasn't alone in that feeling as I contemplated the cold, dark, relative solitude of the many winter nights to come between now and when we'd be on the other side of the diminishing daylight and the current school year would start winding down.

It was nearly one of those perfect moments when I paused to snap the next shot. I watched the wind induced ripples rush toward and around me as the small stream bent past the spot where I stood and for a few seconds the illusion of apparent motion overtook me so that it seemed as if the water were standing still and I was flying over it. The voice of the one I love kept me warm as we chatted through the headset to which my phone was tethered and I held on to the feeling of flight for as long as I could. It lasted for only a few seconds, but the feeling was exhilarating and made me even more glad that I'd ventured out for the ride in spite of the chill.

Back at the house it was time to peel off the layers. With the hair atop my head clipped short enough for "helmet head" not to be much of a concern, the beard makes up for it. While I was riding I could tell that the beard was being bent at all angles under the face mask part of the hat and I was glad that I didn't need to stop anywhere where I might terrify little children with the resulting grizzled mountain man look.

If I'm lucky and the forecast for the weekend holds up through Tuesday when I have to head back to work I'll manage to get in a few more glorious rides in the golden sunshine. For now, though, here comes that nap...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not Quite Ready

In my nearly 30 years of teaching it had been my usual experience that a school year slugged along at a gastropod's pace until Halloween, and after that the speed increased exponentially with each passing week until the end was rushing at me seemingly too fast for me to get done all the things I'd hoped to accomplish. This year, however, has been clipping by at a fast pace from the first day running. I have to hope that somebody won't hit the brakes along the way, particularly in the spring when the days off are sparse.

Except for when there are sound reasons to take the car I've been keeping my pledge to myself to take the scooter to and from work every day. It's getting very brisk in the mornings, but so far the three mile run from the house to the school has been bearable without the visor as long as I keep my ears covered. Another ten degrees and I'll need the helmet with the visor, but still I'll hope to keep running the bike till the slippery stuff comes and sticks around.

I suppose now that mid autumn is here I'm ready for it. I don't like the early dark at all, but I manage to get by one day at a time with that feeling that nearly compels me to stay in the house after the sun sets. I'm still using the grill to get supper ready as often as the choice of meat warrants its use, but it does take something out of the experience when the sun is already down and I'm not sitting beside the grill with a beer while poking at the meat with a long fork or tongs, but rather running back into the house to get warm for a few minutes before seeing if it needs to be turned.

The Halloween Jack o' Lantern is still around for Thanksgiving, but it would seem that some of the little woodland creatures have been enjoying him in bits and pieces. God bless him, though, he's smiling through it all even when I'm grumping around in the house at 5:30 lamenting the cold and dark.

Fall has its occasional perks, I suppose, like this shot of a lone leaf impaled on the rake. I think it's a pretty good photo, suitable for hanging in some professional office where some decorator's pretentiousness leads one to believe that doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, and the like have decently cultured tastes. Not that they don't, necessarily, but do they really buy their own prints for their office walls? What can I say? I'm always the skeptic. I digress, but if you spend any time here other than in this visit, I know you're neither surprised nor disappointed.

And the "not quite ready" part? Christmas!

Oh! I love Christmas, to be certain, but in its own time and not just at the end of the whole Hallowthanksgivingmas season that the retailers have created. I think I could be happy enough with a well placed and properly timed sprig of pine, with a pine cone or two remaining upon it, a red and a green glass ornament, and a big, red bow. A neatly wrapped present or three, a seasonally scented candle*, a few carols on the "Victrola" (iPod docked to the stereo), and I'll be like Tiny Tim chanting, "God bless us, everyone!" all around the town with enough joy in my heart to make the new and improved Ebeneezer Scrooge appear to be still the piker he had been and the Grinch his nasty old self.

Welcome Christmas! Za ho ra moo...

In another month!

* ( I believe whoever invented those "fresh linen" scented candles should be strapped to the exhaust hose of my next door neighbor's clothes dryer for a few good cycles.)

Friday, November 5, 2010


Here we are on the verge of turning the clock back that hour that's going to make night fall much earlier for the next four months or so.  Seasonal affective disorder, here we come!

Once the sun sets the day is essentially over for me.  It's not that I can't go out in the cold and dark; I just don't feel like - not even in the car.  I eat supper and usually climb into my pajamas only to watch the clock crawl down to bedtime.

Oh, I'll fight that inclination to throw the towel in on the day as much and as often as I can, but when all is said and done I'm often vanquished by the proverbial towel and zonked out on the couch during Jeopardy.

Here's hoping for a fast, mild winter!