As the wind whips around our little house at the end of the long driveway, it carries the leaves in slow spirals toward the ground. We’re quickly passing from the warm and colorful fall to the windy cold bleak fall.
The colorful mums and pumpkins stack neatly on the steps of so many houses I pass every day. In New England, we love fall. It is a strange transition we make from summer to winter, and back again every year. Summer releases it’s grip slowly as we pass into late October, but it eventually does give up to lower temperatures, and then frost, and then freeze. I’ve not yet needed to scrape the windshield, but I’m sure we are just days away.
One of my favorite New England past times is a potent combination of hardy & thrifty Yankee sport. Each year, our friends and neighbors begin the countdown to turning on the heat. I’ve taken an unofficial pole and it seems to be an extreme weakness to turn on the heat before October 15. Some only hold out until October 1st, but that is barely passing. My most hardcore friends have removed the heat completely and use a wood alone approach to warmth.
I think this is crazy. When that dark-eyed New England boy brought me north and tried to help me understand, I assured him that we would not be playing this game. The heat has a knob for on and off, for when it is 45 degrees on September 27. We also continue to heat until it is not cold anymore. The calendar is not the boss of me or my thermostat.
But I do love the wood stove. All winter, the wood stove and stone hearth heat our little house from the inside out. We bought it used, as the house didn’t have one when we moved in. Our friend Don said it was the heaviest thing he ever moved. I don’t think that was a compliment. It is beautiful to look at, a beauty to behold when the fire burns brightly through the winter. I don’t even mind tending this fire because it brings such an immediate relief to the cold raw wind outside.
Again the sport involved in getting, seasoning, stacking, and using wood is epic where I live. These men take their wood very seriously. Last year, Keith built a shed for his wood… I am only grateful. I will never be a friend of the cold of winter, but our wood stove makes it bearable. The smell of the fire, the smoke slowly rising from the chimney, the wood stacked neatly in a row on the porch all tell me fall is here. I will continue to relish the last days of jacket weather, and I will lean close to the fire on the cold, windy nights. And I will enjoy another winter in front of the wood stove.
I hope you are enjoying this exploration of simple things that make life special. This is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to follow along.