dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Falling in to Autumn

The last few weeks where I live we’ve been in a mild Indian summer and my dahlias and tomatoes finally in full production. But three days ago, we hit that day where everything changes overnight. You wake up and it’s so chilly you need a coat. The dark sky warns you to dig out the umbrella put away at the end of spring. You want the pilot light lit so the furnace can add a little warmth to the house. Whatever the calendar may say about the actual date, this day is the true start of autumn and portends the end of the gardening season.

I always find it a bit sad as I watch my lush green dahlia and tomato plants begin turning brown and wilting down to the ground. I will miss my wall vases filled with blooms which make me smile as I marvel at their beauty. I do have some plants which will make it through the winter: succulents, cactus, air plants, and carnivorous plants; but none of them will brighten up my home like that rainbow of dahlias. It will be a long wait until next summer when the sun will warm the soil and they will burst forth in glorious hues again.

Farewell, my beautiful dahlias!  See you next year!

However, now is the time to focus on autumn and the coming winter weather. With chronic pain, I always get stiffer and more painful when the temperature drops. Besides making sure I am prepared for the season by getting new windshield wipers on my car, checking flashlight batteries, making sure I have candles at the ready for power outages (scented ones to add an element of aromatherapy), and all the other normal practical things we need to do, I also prepare for the needs of my chronic pain/illness.

I’ve already got a stack of good books waiting for my attention when I need a little pleasant distraction. I’m getting out my favorite blanket so it’s ready to cuddle under. I’ve got the longest extension cord hooked up to my heating pad so I can use it anywhere I’m sitting. I stocked my pantry with all my favorite kinds of decaf tea so I can choose whatever suits my mood, from Oolong to English Breakfast, and more. I’ve jotted down a list of classic old films that I can rent or borrow from the library. I pulled out my recipe cards and picked out all my special cold-weather soup recipes (my mouth is already watering!). My comfy velour bathrobe is washed and waiting and there's a new pair of warm fuzzy slippers by my bed.

My last star dahlia 'shines' through to autumn.

I am now completely ready for the next stormy day when I will snuggle under my blanket with a cup of tea, book in hand, and a purring cat applied to my lap... while I listen to the rain fall and start daydreaming about next summer's garden.

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