It's autumn. Cooler winds are blowing. There's frost on the pumpkins overnight. The hours of daylight are diminishing. Tree leaves are changing from green to golden...to gone! Grain fields have been harvested. So have vegetable gardens. Ducks, geese and a good number of humans are starting to head south for the winter. Summer clothes have been relegated to the back of wardrobes. Warm winter sweaters are now out of the closet. As are winter parkas. And winter scarves. And winter mitts. And winter toques (that's a "hat" for non-Cdn reader!). And winter boots. And winter long johns. And thermal winter socks. And flannel winter pyjamas! Motorcycles and sports cars are disappearing from the roads. Jeeps, trucks and snowmobiles are being tuned up. Football season is still underway. Baseball season is wrapping up. Hockey season has begun.
Where am I??? Well, I'm in Canada of course!
I don't normally come back to Canada this time of year. After all, it's dangerously close to that nasty season called "winter", and I stopped doing Canadian winters some 4 years ago! But my elderly parents are both in their late 80's, I hadn't seen them for over a year and we were all missing each other, so I decided to sneak in a visit up north before winter hits. Believe me, I'm desperately hoping that winter doesn't hit while I'm still here!
According to the "locals", the weather in Canada right now is balmy and warm. According to me, who's spent the last 4 months in the Caribbean and the past 4 years in perpetual summer, the weather in Canada is bloody cold! And incredibly dry. But despite the cool weather and serious lack of humidity, I'll admit that I've really been enjoying the change of seasons.
After seeing nothing but "green" for 4 years, I actually forgot how spectacular the colors of a Canadian autumn can be, how beautiful is the transformation of tree leaves from green to rich shades of red, golden and brown. It's just unfortunate that the transition doesn't last very long, and in no time it seems that the leaves have changed color, fallen away, and there's nothing but bare twigs left behind! In fact, in the one month that I've been here, autumn has come and gone and the unpredictable weather has arrived. Last week, for instance, we went from a glorious plus 23C during the afternoon to minus 3C and snow flurries overnight! Thankfully the snow melted quickly and we're sitting at around 5-10C again, but the arrival of winter doesn't feel far off...
After a year away, I'm also enjoying seeing family and friends again. I had a nice reunion with my parents...my Dad's lost some of his mobility and my Mom's lost some of her marbles, but otherwise they're both doing pretty okay for their ages. For the first time in years I spent Thanksgiving with some of my sisters and their kids. That same weekend I volunteered at the Calgary Drop-In Center where I helped serve around 3000+ meals to the homeless...so I got to see both sides of the Thanksgiving coin.
I've given myself a month to manage personal errands and catch up with family and friends (already I'm exhausted!), and after that I plan on hiding away for another month and focusing on nothing but writing. And then it will be time to leave Calgary again.
And if I'm really lucky, winter won't have hit while I'm still here!