After more than a week of what could only be described as “glorious” weather — sunny skies, pleasantly warm afternoons, perfect evenings — we now find ourselves in day two, three, or maybe seventy of impenetrable clouds. The sun comes up, but it looks more like twilight — all day.
When the sun refuses to shine, it’s easy to get caught up in the hazy, downward spiral. There’s a whole month left of Daylight Saving’s tyranny ahead in spite of what the daylight is actually doing. There’s talk of another hard winter ahead replete with polar vortex. The leaves haven’t fully changed colors yet and already the department stores are pulling out the Christmas merchandise. My ears are wincing, waiting for the inevitable assault brought on by some pop star’s tragic rendering/massacring of O Holy Night. Must we skip past autumn every year?!
But, no. We won’t go there — not yet, anyway. Today is its own day — a full beginning and end, with all that room in the middle to be filled with good stuff. So, in absence of sunlight and reassuring warmth, I’ll count blessings instead.
Those were some beautiful blooms, this summer…
True, it was not a stellar year for the vegetable garden. Between my busy rehearsal schedule and the complete reluctance of the summer weather, it was a slim year for most of what we grew. If not for these stolen moments of jewel-toned, petaled glory, I’d feel a bit more like a failure. And, yet, I know another season is just around the corner and it’s time to think ahead to what we can only hope will be a better season.
And, before that season gets here — even before the one before that — there’s the beautiful season that’s here right now. Autumn is that time of year when you are absolutely forced to seize the day. If it’s a beautiful sunny day, you’d better drop everything else on your to-do list and get out into it while you can.
Recently, we were faced with that very dilemma. The dinner menu commanded me to chop, sauté, and bake while the sunlight just outside the window commanded us to pack up and hike out! So, I drew a line through the baked pasta and instead made an impromptu picnic dinner and we headed off down the Houdek trail.
We took our picnic dinner up to the marina park in Northport and ate underneath the swaying willows. We pretended we weren’t cold as a wind too forceful to be called a breeze but too gentle to be a gale rose up from the bay and swirled and danced around us. Maybe it was the hint of gold in the leaves, the comfy flannel, the roast beef and provolone, the last of the decadent apple cake… or just being there in that moment with my beloved, but the perfection of that evening is more vibrant in my mind than countless ones we have tried to plan.
Then there was the evening when work had extended a bit longer than usual and a hiking excursion was out of the question. So, we pretended the highway was our hiking trail and set off to admire the wildflowers and the shifting colors of foliage and sky.
We stopped there in that curve and admired the sunset. I remarked that this was one of those impossible, movie set sunsets — where the music and the cinematography climax in just the right spot, permanently impressing the image into your synapses. If we’d left our house a moment later or a moment sooner, we wouldn’t have witnessed it. I hoped everyone driving up and down the highway, that evening, noted the small, mundane miracle in their windshield or in their rear view mirror.
In another moment of unexpected, perfect weather, we headed up to Pyramid Point, again — this time allowing enough time to hike the entire loop with all of its steep climbs and descents.
Then, we sat on the beach eating our sandwiches, watching as the sun disappeared beneath Lake Michigan.
No, today’s not a sunny day and there’s very little chance of that changing. But, there’s plenty of light if we reach for it, and there’s plenty of autumn if we don’t rush past it or overlook it as it swirls past us and lands at our feet.