Saturday, October 29, 2011


This is how late October is supposed to look in NJ - the leaves of a few trees, mostly the maples, flaming out suddenly, the rest starting to turn and fall. Coolness, a sudden chill in the morning. Realizing that the humid, oppressive jungle of summer insects and plant life is gone, that even the insects that are still around and the plants that are still thriving both look thinner, weaker. The earth and the water, covered for months in flowers and leaves and vines and ants and beetles, revealed again, heading back toward winter's stark mass.

Today's sleet, on the other hand, and nor'easter, are atypical and not altogether welcome. I love a rainy, sleepy Saturday more than the average person - I'd rather curl up inside and snooze when it rains, instead of thrashing my way back and forth to Philadelphia, and work. But sleet? Sleet? I was just adjusting to the end of summer, and winter is already here.

It doesn't seem to be bothering the birds much; they staged a protest out at the feeders, complaining that there was nothing there for them, until I relented and stuck my head out long enough to rip a day-old French bread apart and throw it out. A couple hours later, there was a flock plus a fat grey squirrel prospecting in the weeds for stray crumbs. Somewhere, the black cat who's convinced the feeder is actually being manned for his convenience is dreaming of the rain stopping and his paws wrapping around some bird's neck. A few feet from the computer, my dog is dreaming of finding the black cat and being his best friend. She loves cats but cats do not generally realize that her attempts to run right over to them are meant to be friendly.

Thanks to the joys of interlibrary loan, I've gotten my hands on two old horse books, Janet Lambert's Star Dream (1951) and High Hurdles (1955). I've been reading the first, which is very enjoyable but sometimes very odd. As in many older books, the female protagonist's age is difficult to discern; she is old enough to date (a little) and be aware of her parents' troubles, but her artlessness makes for an unconvincing teenager. And I still haven't recovered from the scene where she suddenly refers to the the Soviet Union's NKVD; coming midway through a book whose tone and setting are gently, vaguely prewar, the modern reference is yelp-inducing.

Draw With Same Savitt

I've acquired a few more books, notably Suzanne Wilding's The Book of Ponies, illustrated by Sam Savitt. The book herd is rapidly approaching critical mass, and as we're now rapidly approaching Christmas, I'm afraid the reckoning I've been postponing since July is also looming. Or I could just stick them all in the attic.

And now I need to go dig out some Halloween candy and have a little snack. Inspired by the frozen day, I spent two hours making a very bad chili for lunch (underspriced, over-tomatoed, generally a failure which might redeem itself in reheating) but now I have to tackle dinner. I would like to skip dinner and proceed directly to popcorn while watching the Lost Boys sequel, but that would probably be an unpopular decision with the rest of the household.

1 comment:

Christina Wilsdon said...

I grew up on Long Island and lived in Jersey for a bit, the fall color pix make me nostalgic. Not that autumn isn't pretty in the Pacific NW, too, but it's a lot soggier by November. Sorry about the sleet...

The books sound wonderful. Interlibrary loan is a beautiful thing. I was even able to get the 1960s-era picture-book version of "Snowman" via that service recently--a book that otherwise goes for well over $100 on eBay.

Love the bit about the dog/cat. My dog has a similar bafflement at the refusal of cats to love her.