The leaves are finally off the trees and the clocks have been set back so we all now drive home in the dark. As to why we continually do this is above and beyond my comprehension but then again most things are.
The end of day light savings time does remind us all the winter is not far off and it is time to evolve from our summer systems to the winter ones. One of these changes includes taking out the winter wardrobe to replace the summer clothes of our closets and drawers.
Usually around this time of year my summer wardrobe consists of cut off jeans that are more strings than cloth, t-shirts that have been washed a bit too many times because they have now become translucent, and white socks that have more holes in them than white. A basic problem is the winter clothes take up more room than the summer ones did.
This makes it necessary to squeeze heavy jeans and sweatshirts into an area originally made for less bulky items. This also makes it impossible to open the drawer without tearing off the front panel. At least the price of dresser drawers has not increased over the years.
Another problem is I can never remember whether or not I washed my winter clothes before I put them away in storage. My wife tells me I don’t have to remember because all I have to do is smell them when I take them out of their summer home. In other words, I never remember to wash them.
Another important change is going from my sandals I have been wearing since last May to my winter boots. In past years I had a transitional pair of sneakers I wore between the changing seasons. But since the muds of spring and late fall have sucked most of my sneakers from my feet I decided to go directly to the winter boots.
Now this represents a bit of a problem. Sandals weigh very little whereas winter boots weigh more than my wife. It takes my ankles and legs about a month to handle the increased weight. So for the entire month of November I am perpetually dragging my feet hoping to put one in front of the other. Frankenstein has a lighter step than I during this transitional month.
My attire is not the only thing I have to get ready for the winter. I also have to get my yard in tune with the new season. The first thing I have to do is mow my lawn for the last time. When I do this I try and cut it as short as I can. This makes my lawnmower want to reach the junkyard as soon as possible.
This also makes me have to rake my lawn so the spring will not look as though I covered my entire lawn with a thick coat of hay. In other words, if I don’t rake it in the fall I sure as hell will have to rake it in the spring.What to do with the cuttings is another problem.
Last year I piled them up in my garden, got a burning permit from the town, and had a bonfire to bring in the cold weather. Last spring I also had to paint the entire outside of my house. I do not want to make the same mistake this year.
My garden is another part of my yard I have to get ready for the winter. Every year I pull up what is left of my tomato plants and pile them into a neat little pile at the end of the garden. In doing this I hope to have the cold winter season break it down. All that really happens is every cat in the neighborhood has a place they call home. I swear they bring in little newspapers every time they wander over for a visit.
This is the time of year I also attempt to save the bushes that surround my house from the upcoming heavy snows. I build little tents over each one of them so the heavy snows will not snap their stems. All this has the tendency to do is crush the entire bush when the heavy snows fill the top of the tent to the point it can’t hold its weight. Many neighbors ask why my bushes never seem to grow from year to year. I just tell them they can never survive a complete year.
My flowers have also evolved from being brightly colored and fresh to a dried pastel color. My neighbors are always surprised by this change because they never see me change them during the day. Actually, I never change them. I just let them die. Deeper into the winter I tell them I create beautiful snow castles by placing dead sticks where the dried flowers once existed. Spring is the only time I can’t get away with this charade.
The changing of the seasons is also the time when I have to rearrange my garage so my lawn equipment evolves behind my snow removal equipment. In other words, I have to move my rake and lawnmower behind my snow shovel and snow blower. This is a traumatic time for me. This is the time when I have to see if my snow blower will start.
For the past few years it seems to take a little bit longer to get the machine to come alive. Since this is my tenth year with this particular machine I figure it should take me about three days. I go through this same torture in the spring with my lawn mower. I sincerely doubt if the mower will start before June 1st of next year.
Habits change with the changing season. In the warmer months my beverage of choice is beer. One can basically tell the season by the size of my stomach. This is the time of year I change to Scotch. In other words, people can see what season we are in by the color of my nose.
The success of my week now becomes equated by how much the Patriots win on any Sunday afternoon instead of how many times the Red Sox can blow a lead during the week. My Saturday’s will begin with me sliding on the ice into the bushes in front of my driveway to fetch my newspaper instead of wringing it out after a spring or summer shower.
But, most of all, I will spend the winter months waiting for the leaves to again fill the trees and the clocks to spring ahead so that I can drive home in daylight. Hell, so I can finally see daylight again. As to why we continue to do this is above and beyond my comprehension. But, then again, most things are.
We all know what will come after this remarkable Autumn by J. G. Fabiano
Jim Fabiano, a teacher and writer who lives in York, is a past recipient of the Maine Press Association’s award for Best Weekly Column.
You can E-mail Jim at: firstname.lastname@example.org