I can’t even say how much I wanted it to be raining today when I got home from yoga. I’m about to be gone for the better part of three weeks, and, after mostly putting off yard work for the past month (or three), there are things that need to be done. I don’t want to do them.
Like my garden. It’s a train wreck. And it will stay that way for now.
Like putting away the hoses that I did at least gather up a week or three ago and left semi-coiled in the wheelbarrow that I need to clean out aforementioned train wreck. I needed a new place for the hoses because I need to clean out the shed where they sprawl on the floor all winter like so many vipers in takeover mode. I despise hoses. Can they not make one that ordinary humans can wind into a factory coil?And then there are the two I can’t get apart.
And maybe someday I will finish getting the 55-year-old junk out from under the shed. Though to be fair to myself, there is far less driftwood, beach rocks, and sea shells than there once was.
But what about the pot of Mt. St. Helens’ ash? Why oh why oh?
Like clean the skylights that the yet-to-be-finished house renovation has opened up. Whoa! That’s an improvement. I can see clearly now.
But once on the roof, of course, I noticed it needed to be cleaned off. Again. There are seven downspouts that get blocked. A couple of weeks ago—or three—it was maple tree debris; now the shedding fir trees. The fallout lines nearly the entire perimeter of the roof, leaving standing water along same when it rains. And surely it will. Rain. Again. Someday.
The good news is between the monthly roof cleaning and frequent hiking in high places, I have conquered my aeroachrophobia.
Like turn off the sprinkler system for winter. I found one of the shutoff valves buried under eight inches of dirt that had to be dug out, thanks to the friggin’ mole. There’s a hole in the side at the bottom. I put in some plastic mesh in hopes that next spring it won’t be filled up again.
Four jobs done. Not even a rain drop in the proverbial bucket. It’s too much. I want someone else to do it. I miss my dad. I don’t know how he did it all.
In more interesting news, the women’s legacy writing series I am facilitating started this week. It was great! This is what I want to be doing at Three of Earth Farm. I want it to be a retreat center. But if someone doesn’t prune trees and rebuild rotting steps and take care of the gardens and clean out 58 years worth of s*** , it’s not going to happen. And right now that someone is me. And I’m too old.
I sit in my father’s old recliner in the corner of the living room at dawn as the sky turns a rosy glow behind the silhouetted mountain alternating with whiteout conditions when the valley fog rises to fill the sky then sinks back down to the tops of the shrouded firs and back up and down and up and down while the copper maple leaves the color of the bottoms of my mother’s old Revere Ware pots let go of life and float downward pausing when a branch momentarily stops their fall as if to say “see you soon” to leaves still pointlessly clinging to life before continuing their inevitable fall to the ground as birds dance limb to limb accompanied by invisible cows bawling in the valley and a vee of geese honking across the pale blueing sky crossing the thin pink stream of a jet flying south; and I sigh in gratitude to be witness to the beauty in this cyclical time of death.
I wanted to see the color of autumn at Paradise. Two weeks ago it had barely begun. (Read that log here.) Last week it snowed, right down to the parking lot. Monday and Tuesday it rained. Friday’s forecast is rain and snow and 20 degrees cooler, and the ten day forecast is freezing or near freezing temperatures every day. But Wednesday and Thursday the forecast was clear, sunny, and warm. The mountain was calling.
I shouldn’t have taken the day. I have a frighteningly long to-do list before I leave for North Carolina next week to see the bigs (my two older grandsons, whom I haven’t seen in over a year). Also it was yoga and Daughter on Duty blog day. But the mountain was calling.
My mother’s caregiver called in sick for the second time this week just as I was finishing a website project for work so I could get on the road. It was a project I got up at 5:00 to do because the day before my internet provider went down for 8 hours just as I figured out how to do what I needed to do. Rebecca was out of town for the day too. But the mountain was calling.
I picked up my road latte at 8:00 and headed down the interstate feeling a little guilty about leaving Mama in town alone. The hell with it. The mountain was calling.
For an hour and a half as I drove, my brain was on overload. How in the world was I going to get it all done? This was stupid and irresponsible. I should not have come.
Then came that view of Herself just north of Mineral. She in her new white coat (albeit a bit worse for the wear after the rain) rising to the blue sky above the foothills across a meadow. All the brain chatter fell away. I was practically orgasmic. This was the only thing I should be doing this day.
I flashed my senior access pass at the park gate and turned off my recorded book (about a woman trying to get her addled mother to move to assisted living, then dealing with her unhappiness about the horrible food while cleaning out her parents house in which they had kept every thing for 50 years). Time to breathe.
When I passed Christine Falls and the trailhead to Van Trump Park, I had another little niggle. Maybe I should have planned to go there, another feather in this summer’s “new trails” hat. But Paradise was calling. I’ll go to Van Trump next summer. Maybe when the wildflowers bloom.
I beat the crowds I expect to be descending on this, the last good day, and three days before the Inn and visitor center close for the winter. I scored a primo spot in the parking lot, knowing by afternoon the line of cars would extend well down the road.
I realized two weeks ago that my favorite part of Skyline Trail is the winding ridge section back down to the Inn from the top of Golden Gate Trail. It’s only about four miles, and, except for the beginning and end, from the Inn to Myrtle Falls—the darling of the flip flop and purse crowd—it’s the least populated. Ding ding!
I usually don’t take the Golden Gate, and I’ve never been up it. It is lovely, and far fewer people than the trails to Panorama Point.
It wasn’t a long hike, but there were lots of marmots begging to be photographed. (I trashed most of the photos. You’re welcome. You can see a few more here on Flora & Fauna Friday.)
And there was the couple from Florida I talked to for several minutes, who thought I was incredibly lucky to live here (yes, I am) and wondered where they should go in the rain tomorrow. And the couple who stopped where I was ogling the crimson slopes who turned out to live in Chehalis, my town’s sister city. Talked to them for a long time. So, it took almost four hours. Whatever. The mountain called, and I went.
At first it seemed the colors seemed more subdued than previous autumn visits. And perhaps they were. And the meadows were smooshed from last week’s snow. But once I got up higher, and the sun rose higher, the huckleberry reds and Sitka mountain ash oranges started popping. Yes, this is what was calling.
As I finished up the last bit of my hike, a woman coming up the paved trail toward me stopped short and, with wide eyes and a shake of her head, breathily exclaimed to her mates, “Magnificent!” Oh yes.
Sadly, I arrived at Base Camp Grill in Ashford an hour before they opened. They close for the season on Sunday. The salmon burger and Rainier ale will have to wait until next summer. I’ll be there. For now I am complete; bring on winter.