I friggin’ LOVE rainy days. A true Pacific Northwesterner, I have energy out the yazoo when it rains. It rained nearly all day Thursday. I picked apples from the neighbor’s orchard before it started, then made and canned fifteen half-pints of Honey-Lemon Applesauce. (I gave two to my Airbnb guests who got stung—twice—by yellow jackets. The pest control guy came right up.) I made scones while the apples cooked down with blueberries from my garden. I wrote a draft of an essay for possible publication somewhere. I made chili for supper and the freezer. I took a nap.
When the rain stopped at the end of the day and the sun came out just in time to sink, I went for a walk in the woods. Dawn and dusk are my favorite times to walk in the woods. And I rarely do. I don’t know why; it needs to change.
I love autumn. Its color. The rainy days alternating with sunny ones. The comforter back on the bed. The promise of winter and dark evenings and fires in the fireplace. Hot tea afternoons instead of cold sparkling water. A hiker friend wrote in her blog that she had exchanged sun hat for wool hat and waterproof gloves, and added microspikes and snowshoes to the box in her car. I stocked up on yarn, candles, and tea.
I did think I would get in another hike when the sun returned on Friday, but I had to schedule a Covid test instead—first available appointment within a forty mile range when I looked on Tuesday. Two to seven days for results. This is crazy. I’m pretty sure I’m fine, though, after exposure to a sweet friend, who is cautious and vaccinated and doesn’t know where it latched onto her. This is scary. (Thankfully, she is feeling much better after several no-fun days at home.)
After waiting in the car line for the test, I moved on to another distasteful task: spending a whole lot of money on a chimney liner and fireplace insert I don’t want, because the sixty-year chimney mortar is crumbling. The only thing that makes me sadder than changing the mid-century modern look of the fireplace and forking over a small fortune for it, is the idea of no fires. So I didn’t dally. Good news is, I had put off buying firewood—the first time since I started building fires here again four years ago that I didn’t have any winter tree casualties to use. Hiring someone and a chainsaw probably costs more than buying wood, but there is the satisfaction of living off the land. There is the advantage of a more efficient fireplace, which is probably a good selling point for the future. Trying to find the good. I really am sad, though.
Then the devastating news, thanks to Covid, not only have prices gone up, but parts that come from Belgium are delayed and this custom project likely will not be complete before this fire season is over. I’ve brought the candle stand I hauled here from North Carolina upstairs from the downstairs fireplace (which also can’t be used, but some other owner can deal with that). I’ve ordered unscented pillar candles. There are more purchases in my future. Lots and lots of candles.
Sunny days means outdoor work. The other thing I love about rainy days. I cleaned up recent blowdown in the woodlot—that much less to do in the spring— and then did one of my favorite tasks, clearing my trails into the woods so I won’t get quite so wet on the winter walks I will take.
I’m off to Seattle on Saturday for kid soccer. I friggin’ love kid soccer! And Elliot is one of the budding goal keepers! I will mask up around them until my test results come back. Sunday, if the weather holds, I’ll get that “one more” hike in. Stay tuned.
Welcome, October! Happy autumn to you.