Seasonal Rituals


Back when there were actually four distinct seasons, there were annual rituals like putting summer clothes away and bringing warmer heavier clothing out of trunks and drawers, shake out the mothballs and freshen up for winter wearing. One never wore white shoes or clothes after Labor Day but that “rule” has gone by the wayside and now designers flaunt “winter whites” after all, snow rabbits and wolves wear white to help them blend in with wintry environments.

With global warming the seasons seem to have shifted and sometimes the plants and trees are confounded by warm weather months before spring thaw should be starting, and then a snap back to finish the cold segment on the calendar.

In Ohio the temperature drops significantly – sometimes like clockwork on the first of October and the warmth of the year is over. It was cold enough last month to turn the heat on, cover the air conditioner with its little jacket to protect all the openings from rain, snow and debris. There was a freeze that completely killed off the beautiful red, green and pink with green coleus plants in the front of the office building I go to twice a week. However, my marigolds are still thriving on my patio.

It was past time to turn the mattress over and turn the box springs full circle in its frame. When my son still lived at home, I harnessed his strength and energy to help me with this task. I gave it serious thought and decided I could not postpone the chore any longer. I cleared the areas around the bed and took off the last set of percale linen for the year. The mattress is as heavy as a whale and just as cumbersome but I did manage to get it over to the side of the bed and propped up though looking a bit precarious. I pushed a night stand half into the doorway and the area rug got all rumpled, so I had to be careful with my footing. Every few minutes I had to re-think my strategy for how to accomplish my goal without having the monster bury me under its weight along the way. I called upon the powers that be to keep me safe, and to lend me a hand, even if it was one I could not grasp or see. The daylight was waning and it was really beginning to look like all I could do was to let the mattress fall back onto the bed in the same position as I had removed it from, and there was no whoosh of extra energy, and no invisible hand helping out.

My clothing was sticking to the sweat, so after squeezing past the nightstand, I sat down in the front room to have a think, as a character from Winnie the Pooh would say. Too much effort expended already to not get the thing turned over, so I did what I always do when I am really stuck, I called Marilyn, who was just about to take a walk. I asked her if she would take a walk up here and help me out and she said she was on her way.

After a good chuckle at my mess and a minute or two to analyze the situation, she took over and said what needed to be done and with a bit more pushing, heaving and switching places the job was done and then we needed to sit down for a few minutes before she headed back down the street homewards. Slowly I pulled the first set of flannel sheets onto the mattress, then spread the rest of the blankets and coverings over it. I pushed the summery shirts to the back of the closet and the summer jeans and slacks into their stack, and consider the autumn to winter ritual done once again.

Today the air is crisp and dry and the orange-red and yellow leaves have left great gaps baring the grey trunks on the trees they left as they flail through the neighborhoods riding the winds like wild things, until they land in a heap somewhere to be swept away.


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