Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crunchy Sidewalks

We are having glorious weather this weekend in my part of the world-not too hot, light breeze, no humidity, glorious skies a deeper blue than the ocean and the realization that Autumn, as wonderful as it is, will not last until the Spring this year.

I had little use for winter even as a kid. I remember living in Belford, New Jersey with snow in our backyard so deep, it was over my head. I was also a runt which had something to do with that, I realized (years later). We had a dog, Sandy, a cocker spaniel that absolutely hated me. It was a present from Grandma and Grampy, my Mom's parents, and we always pretended how much we loved the dog when they came to see us (neither of my parents liked the dog; I stayed away from it to the point that months after we stopped having it, I noticed it was gone).

The house we live in has a front lawn and a backyard. They were both great to have when our two children were younger as it gave them and their friends someplace else to play. Our kids are adults now so we spend a lot of time alone, cutting the grass and cursing the lawn. This time of year we watch the leaves pile up as the season changes, but there are no trees to speak of on our property.

This is the first time I can remember having lots of those propeller pods everywhere. Do you remember those from when we kids? Another great invention by nature to better assure the perpetuation of all the various species of trees-not that we ever saw it that way when we were smaller. There are so many this year and so many of them land on the walk leading to the house that every footfall sounds like you're walking in Rice Krispies.

The squirrels in the neighborhood love the helicopter pods and can tear through them in a blink to get to the seed in the center. The pods are so numerous that the squirrels have actually been leaving the peanuts we throw to them for later while they gorge themselves on the pods. Would seem to be a luxury but unfortunately for them, the blue jays are quite happy to eat their share of the peanuts.

It was very cold yesterday morning-crisp is a word my father would use and so do I, in his honor, and that's the signal the next phase of the journey has started. The darkness comes earlier now and the shadows lengthen sooner as the afternoons move on. I promised myself this summer was the one I was finally going to enjoy but then things came up at work and at home that got in the way and soon enough the 'I'll get to that this week' became next week and then even later and now it's gone again.

Soon the winds will shift and more often come out of the north and pickup in speed and intensity and the simple joy of crunchy sidewalks on the way to the corner to pick up a paper will be gone as the animals and birds spend more time gathering and storing food with one eye fixed on the fall skies as a hazy shade of winter creeps inexorably closer.
-bill kenny

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