Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn is a Second Spring

Autumn is a Second Spring

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus

Blustery showers and calmer days of drizzle take turns in October. That’s why the days of blue skies and butter-colored sunshine are so prized. On such a day the Lady-of-the-House opened the windows. Enjoying the breeze she was roused to do some delayed spring-cleaning. A simple wash-cycle and a hot iron put her curtains to rights.

Although she no longer snips faded blooms a few lingering verbena can be cut for a bouquet.

The patio’s pot of thyme should soon be harvested for drying.

Bunches of thyme already hang above the fireplace. These, along with the rose hips, were a gift from friend.

A wreath of faux foliage encircles the tin lantern. Her daughters made the cornhusk dolls  (a startling number of years ago) and are displayed each autumn. This year the dolls take a place in the beehive oven. The Lady-of-the-House has always admired the dolls' long corn silk hair. 

She was awakened anew to this admiration perhaps because she had recently darkened the door of a hair-cutter – something she ventures to do but twice a year. She is familiar with the hazards of such places. Most often she tells the cutter to “give it a trim” while she demurely holds up a thumb and forefinger to specify how much – or should she say, how little? This time she was more daring. As a result of her risk-taking she was given a head of all ends – which to her resembles the shaggy “do” of a popular male vocalist of the 1980s. Calm on the outside, yes, underneath she was in a near panic. She returned home, ran upstairs, dug out her pink rollers and set all the fly-away ends. A couple hours later she was relieved that she had managed to curl them into female civility (for the time being).

The Man-of-the-House is fond of his wife no matter how long, short, chopped or gray her hair will ever be. Returning home in the car on her birthday he bent down and picked up a bright maple leave that had just fallen to the edge of the drive and said, “This is for you.”  The gesture was so spontaneous and unexpected that it lifted her spirits. The very next day, when she opened a cookbook to the autumn section, she read the quote you see at the start of this post. It put the Man-of-the-House in a spotlight of appreciation. 

Back to the subject of decorating, resting on the fireplace mantel is a photograph of a pumpkin on a yellow chair of Tasha Tudor’s. The-Lady-of-the-House cut out the picture from a 1995 desk calendar she saved. Then she slid it into a dime’s store frame. Gilded frames are not her first choice but in celebration of the season the Lady-of-the-House makes allowances.

Near the kitchen sink a tea towel is all that boasts the season here.

In the family room a small show of faux berries are nestled in the window candle pan.

Over the summer the Lady-of-the-House found use for the stone pieces that broke apart from the larger stones used for the patio. She made a pathway to invitingly draw the eye toward a mysterious “wild wood.” The path ends behind the azaleas where she ran out of stone. Less romantically stated this path also serves as an access-way for the weeder.

At the start of the path is the dogwood sapling the Man-of-the-House planted in springtime. The Lady-of-the-House is happy to see how red it has become.

Another surprise of color will be revealed six months from now when the bulbs she put into the ground, will bloom. The package pictures pink narcissus. She is skeptical for she has learned not to trust explicitly the graphic arts of advertising. Still, it is something to look forward to. 

With the last tiny stitch in place the Lady-of-the-House finished what she calls her “wedding sampler.” She followed a chart made of a 19th century sampler yet pretends that Eve and Adam (so nicely dressed) are representative of she and the Man-of-the-House.

The crowns and initials were added by prerogative. So were the subtle shades of white and gold trim on Adam’s tan suit, which would have looked like his birthday suit had the Man-of-the-House not pointed this out by delicate inquiry. The stitcher threaded her needle at once while commiserating, “We can’t have that. Not in a lady’s parlor.”  

Post Script

I had fun with this post, aiming to entertain my friends with small corners of my life. Can you tell?

Curious to know why and how I would turn temporarily from writing non-fiction to fiction, Teisha Priest asked to interview me. I agreed. She then submitted the interview to a fiction book blogger. To read more click: Interview with Karen. 

Thank you for visiting,  
Karen Andreola