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Filtering by Tag: Fall

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Not too long ago, maybe near the end of September, we had a couple of weeks of rain and cloudy skies. It was bleak and dreary and many of us wondered if we were ever going to see the sun again. Actually, this scooter season, I ended up getting caught in the rain more times than I ever have during a scooter season. I worried that we were going to move from Summer right on into winter without getting a Fall. Eventually the clouds went away and the sun came out. Everybody’s basements dried out. The weather shifted from warm and muggy to cool and dry. The days have been sunny with mild temps while the evenings and nights have been down right cold.

Turns out warm days and cold nights is the perfect weather recipe for amazingly vibrant Fall leaves. We all learned in basic biology about how plants use chlorophyll to make food from the sun. Trees make lots of chlorophyll during the months were have the most sunlight, Spring and Summer. As Summer turns into Fall, trees start breaking down chlorophyll to prepare for the darker days when we don’t get as much sunlight. As chlorophyll, which is also a pigment, is broken down into smaller molecules, underlying pigments like yellow and orange show through. Reds and orange come from sugars that get trapped in the leaves. On warm sunny days, more sugars get trapped in the leaves and then on cool nights, chlorophyll breaks down. The leaves end up being more vibrant and stick to the trees longer.

Science is beautiful.

Every time I step outside, I think I’ve stepped onto the set of some Hallmark Channel made-for-TV Thanksgiving movie. The trees are so vibrant and breathtaking that they don’t even seem real. Just when I think it can’t get any prettier, another tree shifts over to flaming red or blinding gold and I mumble “are you fucking kidding me?!” to myself because I just can’t believe I’m in Kansas City and not Vermont. The concept of a true Fall season is still new to me. I’m not sure I will really ever get used to it. When the leaves change color here and last for weeks, I am so pleasantly surprised. I think of it as my consolation prize for the colder temperatures and the impending winter. Fall is here to overwhelm the optic nerves with vibrancy before we settle into the cold dark gray of winter.

I am thankful for that vibrancy.

TILT SHIFT

Cindy Maddera

I can feel the change in the earth's angle as we start to move into a new season. It is a physical sensation; my body feeling almost heavier as it readjusts to the new angle and shift in gravity. There has even been a few dizzy spells, though that probably has more to do with what is happening in my sinus cavity as a new round of pollen floats through the air. The mornings are cooler with the hint of crispness. That sounds like a wine review. As you swirl the weeks between Summer and Fall in your mouth, you will notice a cool crispness with hints of fresh mowed grass. Hold the glass up to the light and you will see the light filter through in a hazy sort of way as if being filtered through fog. 

Actually, it was the change in the light that I noticed first. For the past few weeks, the house has been dark when the alarm goes off and I go and wake Michael up to get in the shower. Even after he's out of the shower and it is my turn, the sky outside the window is still dark. The sun has just crested over the horizon by the time I pull out of our driveway and head to work. I've noticed a shift in the angle of the sun as I do my morning loop outside and the way it filters through the tall decorative grasses that are planted around the place. Usually there is a layer of dew and as you pass by a particular decorative grass, the sun hitting the dew drops makes it look as though the grass is tipped with diamonds. The sun, as I walk back towards the building, is so harshly bright in my face that I have to walk with my eyes almost closed.  

My mind whirls with ideas as I walk, tugging my sweater up to zip it. I think of all the things that I want to do now and into the next year. I want to get started before the bell starts to toll for the end of the year. I imagine cleaning out everything in the basement and the house. I imagine the possibilities of being able to pack up all of my belongings into one vehicle. I mentally start taking an inventory of all the things stored in boxes that I never use or even look at. My mamaw's china. A box of childhood toys. Five boxes of elephant figurines. My thoughts move from the things in the basement to the garage, past the old bicycle I would like to get rid of and into the house where I think of the drawers and cabinets of things that do not serve me. I feel such an urge to remove everything that I almost order a dumpster. 

The idea of getting rid of everything makes me feel instantly happy. It tops the list of projects that has formed in my brain. Step 1: Get rid of most of all my possessions. Step 2: Organize what's left. Step 3: Start a yoga class video series. Step 4: Make a Halloween wreath out of baby doll heads. The wreath idea came out of my idea to fill my decorative lantern with doll heads for Halloween. Last year I did floating pumpkins. The Cabbage is vehemently against my Halloween decorative ideas for this year. My Halloween decorating ideas are about the only thing that I am excited about for Fall. So, doll heads are happening. As for the rest of the stuff on that list, I don't know. We'll see how I feel when I have a weekend free and clear enough for me to put my foot down and say "This is what I am doing THIS weekend! Don't try to stop me!"

Most people look forward to moving into the Fall season and all of those traditional Fall related events like football and turkeys. I see it as my last chance to get things done before the cold weather sets in and I don't want to leave my house.  

LOVE THURSDAY

Cindy Maddera

I thought I'd have something written for this post by now, but I'm finding it hard to come up with anything. It kind feels like someone has poured bleach or hydrofluoric acid inside the empty spaces of my skull. I may also still be running a fever or having hot flashes followed with chills. I don't know. I do know that all of it is making it really hard to focus on a topic. Usually when I'm stumped for a Love Thursday post, I go into my Instagram feed and just look around. I noticed that it's that time of year where I sure do take a lot of pictures of trees and leaves.

I grew up thinking that the Fall you see on TV and in the movies was just some made up technicolor dream world that probably only happened in half the technicolor on the east cost somewhere. I had no idea that all I had to do to experience the real life thing was to move three hundred and something miles north. Now I live where every day of the Fall season looks like a set from a Lifetime Network Thanksgiving Day movie. So much so, that even Michael commented on it. Saturday, there was a Lexus in front of us and as the zoomed ahead of us up the neighborhood road, the car stirred up all the leaves that had fallen in the street. Michael asked if we were in some Lexus car commercial we weren't supposed to be in, like maybe they were making a commercial for their Thanksgiving sales event. That was the same morning that took me twice as long to drive to the grocery store because I kept stopping to take pictures of trees. And lion statues decorated to celebrate the Royals' heading to the World Series. Several neighborhood streets along Ward Parkway have different statutes marking the end of the street. Last Saturday morning, just about every one of them were dressed out in something Royals. 

There was a time when I was the only one in the car pointing out trees. I've noticed this year that Michael does it too. He'll point out the trees that look like they are on fire faster than I do. I know that I had something to do with that. I know that before I came around, he didn't really pay much attention or didn't really care all that much about the changing leaves. But after two Fall seasons of listening to me go on and on about the leaves, he sees it. He gets it. 

Happy Love Thursday

LOVE THURSDAY

Cindy Maddera

A storm swept through on Tuesday. It rained most of the day and at some point during that evening the sky turned that odd yellow color that tends to precede something bad. Nothing bad happened. No tornadoes or hail or high winds. Just regular old thunder and lightening. By Wednesday morning all of that weather had cleared off and I was able to ride my bike to work. Except Wednesday morning was challenging. The cat knocked over his food bowl and the food had to be swept up before Josephine could eat it. Josephine has eaten the cat's food enough to throw it all back up in neat little piles on the floor. So sweeping up this mornings spill was important. I was indecisive about what shirt to wear and ended up changing clothes three times. Josephine had to be yelled at for jumping up on top of the chicken run and running back and forth, terrorizing the chickens. 

Finally, I was out the door and on my way. And it was awful. That first hill up 77th to Troost was the worst thing ever. I got to the top of that hill and thought it was probably going to take me an hour to get to work. It was excruciating, but I made it to work. I made it to work with my cranky pants tied on really tight and I just sort of sat at my desk stewing in it. I was not the only one. I could hear the grumbles from others. Someone spilled their coffee. This person was late. That person didn't do what they were supposed to have done. We had all been hit with the Wednesday cranks. When I went out for my morning loop with my cup of coffee in hand, my first instinct was to grumble about the chill in the air as the door shut behind me. I did not have a sweater and the wind had a definite bite to it. Then I thought "wait. the wind has a definite bite it." 

That storm that swept through left behind cool temperatures and a breeze that suggested of apple picking, bonfires and football games. I am not quite ready for summer to end, but a break from the summer heat is nice and I know that this all that this is. A break from the heat. Temperatures are supposed to warm back up over the weekend. It is a hint of things to come though. I've noticed something about seasons around here. They don't show up all of a sudden and declare that Winter is over or Fall is here. I guess some would say that Mother Nature is a bit of a tease. You've just endured months of freezing temps, so here's a day of Spring like temperatures to remind you that there is warmth and sunshine coming eventually. Then the next day it will snow and you will have to shovel your driveway. When you are a warm weather girl, this can be really annoying, but now I see it as less teasing and more slow adjustments. Mother Nature likes to ease you into the changes ahead. It's like she's reminding you that all those things that you like you to do in the next season are coming. 

Today's weather was a reminder that apple picking and bonfires are coming. Soon we will be breaking out sweaters and carving pumpkins. We will be oohing and awing over the beautiful leaves with their bright reds and yellows. I know I'm not ready for any of that, but I look forward to doing all of those things. When I thought of all of this, I got a little less cranky. My bike ride home that evening was not easy (uphill all the way), but I didn't care. I was in no hurry, no chance of being late for anything. I savored the ride home just like I plan on savoring these last few days of summer.

Happy Love Thursday!

I'M PROBABLY GOING TO BREAK SOMETHING

Cindy Maddera

Fall has exploded here. Sure a lot of the trees are still sporting green leaves, but there's enough red and golds splattered in now to make you think of Jackson Pollock. Every time we're in the car, I spend the drive pointing out trees. This weekend as I pointed at the 100th tree with "OHMYGOSH! Look at that tree!", Michael said "oh now I remember Fall". I guess he was thinking that last year was a fluke. Meanwhile, I'm a bit flabbergasted that he's not as excited about all the lovely tree colors as I am. I just don't know how anyone can remain indifferent . The other day we passed a tree that hurt my eyes, it was so unbelievably beautiful. The shade of red increased in intensity as your eyes followed up to the top of the tree. It was like that tree was on fire. And I want to stop and freeze it all for just a moment.

I know Oklahoma has some nice Fall foliage. The whole Northeastern corner of the state is full of big trees that change colors in the Fall, but I've lived in the plains ever since graduating high school and there's just not the abundance of trees on the prairie. Drought is a common thing in Oklahoma. The lack of rain tends to wreck havoc on the trees and instead of the leaves changing to a brilliant red, they most likely turn a dull brown. Fall is also shorter, lasting a few weeks versus a few months. I will be pointing and exclaiming over tree colors late into November here. 

Michael said he guessed he'd been taking all the changing leaves for granted. This is what Fall has looked like every year, his entire life. Part of me wonders if I have also taken Fall for granted. Were the Fall colors in Oklahoma really as dull and lack luster as I remember them to be? It's true that I never noticed the color changes as fiercely as I do now or when we first moved here, but part of me suspects there other reasons for this. Years back during the serious 365 Day projects, I was constantly looking. I began to see things differently. I learned to look at the ordinary at a different angle and see something not so ordinary any more. The move to Kansas City came right at the peak of all of this. Everything we came across was new and amazing. Bright and shiny. This move was all about a fresh start and so maybe the seasons even looked knew. I don't know. Really, I'm more concerned about falling back into the old habit of not really seeing anything spectacular about a tree with red or gold leaves. 

So I am determined every Fall season to point out the red leaves on that tree and the yellow gold leaves on this tree. I will continue to exclaim and gush at the beauty. And yes there will even be times where I will jab my finger into the window to point out the loveliest. Fall is my reminder to keep my eyes open and to continue to see things differently. Yoga teacher will say that if you practice yoga enough, eventually you will see your practice come off the mat and creep into your every day life. You'll find yourself standing in Tadasana while waiting in line at the bank or making the lion's face while sitting in traffic. The same can be said for being behind a camera. Eventually the practice of seeing things through the lens transitions over to seeing things in life. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Can this be a silent Thankful Friday? It's not that I don't have things to be thankful for. That's silly. Just sitting here breathing is enough to rejoice over. No..I'm certainly grateful for many things. It's just that those things are hard to put into words today. There have been many times this week where I have felt all of the words rolling around this noggin yet unable to pull any of them out in a coherent order. The words are a mix of happy, sad, angst, and funny. The problem is that they're all swirling around together and I have been unable to yank out the happy, funny for fear of dragging some of the sad along with it. I'm tired of writing sad. I'm tired of writing about missing. I'm tired of writing of things lost. I'm kind of just tired. 

Fall temperatures have creeped in triggering my inner hibernation hermit. Suddenly I have noticed my lack of leg warmers and how much I may desperately need to add some to my life. We ate our first batch of chili on Monday with cornbread and last night, Michael stood at my bedside to say goodnight and shook his head at me I shivered under my measly two top layers of a sheet and comforter. He swooped down and retrieved his grandmother's quilt from under the bed and threw it over me. Meanwhile, he turns the air conditioner up to the highest (lowest?) setting in his room. He sleeps in the refrigerator. I am torn between fluffy sweaters and shoes without socks. I think that as soon as I pull out the warmer clothes or put away the flip flops, those warm summer temperatures will come back. Maybe I should trick Mother Nature by pretending to put those things away.

But, I remind myself, Fall is beautiful here. The leaves turn to golds and reds that dazzle the eyes for months. It is the season for bonfires and cider and moons bigger and brighter than can be imagined. It is the spell binding season where I'm tempted to smudge the house with sage and burn some candles. So instead of heading into this season begrudgingly, I should be grateful for the beautiful changes to come. In honor of this, I've put butternut squash on the menu for next week and we've started talking about Thanksgiving food. I've started thinking about a pumpkin carving party (Tiffany, remember when we used to do those at your place?). Fall is the season for being grateful for the bounty of food harvested. It is the grateful season and I am ready to open my heart to it. 

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for the rain. I am really thankful for the return I've made to my yoga mat. There was a moment after class the other day where I was tempted to roll myself up in my yoga mat hug, I'd missed my mat so. I am thankful for warm bowls of chili and calico quilts from grandmas. I am, as always, thankful for you. Here's to a productive weekend, but a truly Thankful Friday.