Late fall is my favorite time of year to explore the woods. No bugs, no dense vegetation to crush, the forest floor cold and crunchy. There’s a waterfall not far from home I like to bushwhack to once a year, after hunting season is over in late November.
On the mountain, it’s a season of startling beauty.
This year, late fall was cancelled. I have hopes it will return, but not big hopes. If it happens I’ll hike up to my waterfall and take some photos for you. Winter has beautiful views as well, I’m just not sure how I’ll handle two extra months of endless white. Three months in and I swear my eyes crave color the way my tummy craves chicken noodle soup. There’s nothing more to do but hermit inside with brightly colored books and yarns and write myself stories of green.
The eerie element to this early winter is the nagging question. Is this our new normal? We’ve had intense storms, usually reserved to February, several times in the past weeks. The old-timers shake their heads and say we’ve had storms and early winters like this before, and we have, just not all at once.
Most of my life I’ve heard about climate change, studied it in college and university, and somehow the reality isn’t what I expected. Rising sea levels? We’ll choose a house at an elevation. More snow, more intense storms? Haha, I’m a Maritimer, we ARE winter. And yet… maybe its being a mother, but I don’t remember storms scaring me speechless before. Power failures, snow, I can handle. The wind clawing like a rabid dragon to get inside my house? Okay, you got me. I mean, I have stories to write about it, sure, but scared. Scared isn’t a good feeling when you have two small people waiting for you to tell them they’re safe. I’m their mom. I have to make sure they feel safe, despite the tongue-sticking dryness in my mouth as I force myself to say what they need to hear in a cheery voice, the rest of my brain devoted to running worst-care-scenario plans and ignoring the heavy, awful feeling settling onto my chest.
I remind myself there are people in hurricane zones who are accustomed to much worse winds then we’ve been getting. Folks in the Arctic have winters longer than the six months we may be facing here. There are actual nightmares playing out in the world. Normal is relative, and change is hard for us humans, but fighting and denying it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s time to adapt.