I look outside and see that the vestiges of summertime are truly, irrevocably gone. The garden has been cleaned out, the detritus dumped into the compost, the last of the beans picked, the basil pulled before it became too mottled with black spots to be of any use. Dead leaves and live spiders have made their way into the house and now our rooms have become a sort of homage to the dead-ish sort of month that is October. I’ve given up fighting off the spiders, half in sympathy, knowing that they, like seemingly every other living thing, will soon be gone with the arrival of the winter cold.
We had a fire in the fireplace tonight, along with a visit from a farmer friend, who confirmed that, yes, the season for growing much of anything around here is over. The best you can hope for is for the kale to survive the first light frosts and for the winter squash to not freeze in storage. So with the possibility of the distraction of the outdoors no longer an option, I turn my attention to my house, to my own projects with a sense of foreboding. Confined – relatively speaking – to this space for the next several months I have no choice but to face the fact that, after years of living in this house, I have yet to put new knobs on the doors of the bathroom vanity. And this lack of forward movement comes a few years after pulling off the old knobs. Yes, I said years. It turns out that one can pull open a cabinet door by grasping the edge with thumb and forefinger and giving a firm tug. Knobs are a luxury my restless mind cannot afford. Apparently, painting the walls can also be classified as an unnecessary luxury, as well as re-doing the floors, hanging the paintings and family photos (that I have yet to print out), and acquiring window treatments. Any sort of window treatments.
I’m going to turn this New England Autumn decay into an opportunity, a chance to remake my interior world. The drooping sunflowers and sagging front stoop jack-o-lantern can be a reminder to me that the death of this season is the re-birth of the next. And the best part is, while I’m scurrying around revitalizing every corner of my house, I will also be providing a free show to my neighbors as they peer through my vast expanse of curtain-free windows.