The unseasonably warm weather we had last week turned cold and wet abruptly. This weekend has been blustery and and rain-spotted and windy. As Hurricane Sandy and the other storm hurtle towards their rendezvous on the east coast, gray clouds churn and toss overhead.
In response to the weather, I am hunkering down. We ran a series of errands yesterday and somewhere along the way I splurged (a $6.00 splurge, mind you) on a new pair of sweatpants. I had been wearing the same pair for over 20 years, and besides being old and worn and faded and too big, they had pretty much lost any fleecy lining they had. I thought my budget could stretch to allow the small luxury and the old ones hit the trash with an unceremonious thud when I got home. I am wearing the new ones right now while I sit and write, looking up from time to time to see the dogwood branches lash their own trunk.
When we got home from our errands, I got serious about hunkering down. I put two huge pots of soup beans on to soak, then went outside to cull the remaining peppers from the garden, which is done for the season and needs to be torn down. While the beans soaked, I sliced and froze the peppers, peeled, sliced, and froze bags of apples for pies. Mid-afternoon, I set the beans to boiling, adding beef and onions to the pinto beans, ham to the Great Northern. I started dough for pizza.
Late afternoon, while the dough rose and the soup beans bubbled, I wrote Ben and Alise:
The change in weather always brings out this response in me: hunkering down, gathering in, drawing together. When my boys were little, weather like this would cause me to bring them in early, tuck them in under extra blankets, check on them extra during the night. I just needed to know, needed to see the proof with my own eyes, that they were warm and cared for while they slept. Now that they are grown and 2500 miles away, my instinct is still to reach out to them and draw them close.
Last night I started to reread (for at least the hundredth time) The Hobbit. There are an abundance of marimbas in the percussion room right now, or I would have had Warren build a fire last night. Instead, I kept the corn bags extra warm all evening and then went to sleep in a bed smelling like a corncrib on a hot afternoon.
It is Sunday afternoon as I finish these lines. Warren is working in his shop, creating a new instrument. I have soup beans to put into containers and freeze for the blustery, cold days of winter yet to come. We are skyping later today with Ben, Alise, and Ramona, who I understand has now discovered her hands. I left Bilbo and company in Mirkwood Forest last night and I will pick back with them tonight. My kids may be 2500 miles away, but I can at least see Bilbo back to his own front door.