20 October 2014


I gaze out of the oversized patio window door. The trees in the rear of the house lining the properties edge are bare, and behind them, perhaps one hundred yards distance, the brilliant color of the leaves has faded and display lingering shades of brown. My burning bush has lost its brilliant red leaves. The late afternoon cloudless sky is a very pale blue, almost white in shade, the high grass has fallen and the low grass has ceased to grow and begun to yellow. The Jewish Holy Days are completed, and Fall turns not slowly into winter.
            The first year I lived in the mid-West an enormous snowstorm blanketed the area on Halloween and remained on the ground until late April. That approximate length of months is about the extent of winter here. There was a time when I felt that I could tolerate the cold: during the winter months only temperatures below -20 degrees kept me from the roads and I wore overcoats and remained hatless. Today I have taken from storage my winter coat purchased from LL Bean that kept me somewhat warm last winter and that always adds ten pounds to my weight when I put it on, these days at earlier moments and (relatively) higher temperatures. I have at least two hats, several scarves and insulated gloves. Nevertheless, I do not think I will blow much snow this winter. 
            This late afternoon I do yet not smell snow in the air; indeed, the temperature is rather warm, but the air itself feels temporary, and seems to suggest, “Wear a sweater anyway!” Or it is me recognizing the time? Mostly, I remain indoors, and make only occasional forays out of the house. It is said that Thoreau would walk about for four hours per day, but in fact, the day contains twenty-four hours. He must have remained indoors for much of that time, then, writing and reading. “This only is reading, and in a high sense but what we have to stand on tip-toe to read, and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to.” Hence, he must have spent a good deal of time sitting and reading. “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time,” he states, somewhat proudly I think. And yet, a whole chapter in Walden explores Society: I love society as much as the next! Winter invites society in.


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