What has four seasons and flies?
By the time this reaches print, the great pumpkin, wait, that was already two months back, yet I sense its stem on the rise from here. Rather, the great 12,000-pound ball in Times Square will have dropped, Boy Scout Troop 48 will have recycled my highly flammable tree, and the Hallmark Channel will, hopefully, have gotten word that, after two months of non-stop sugar, Christmas has passed. Diabetics and imperfect-looking people beware — a Valentine’s “Day” barrage begins soon.
Though it’s cliché to mention how time flies, or how it increases RPMs as it hurtles us along mercilessly, I’m not too high-faluting to employ an apt cliché. Time moves at breakneck speed. In fact, I’m fairly certain I passed myself coming out of the garage with a colorful box of decorations even as I packed away a load. That’s how fast it goes.
The tree I chose carefully at the lot, earlier than usual, I thought, gave up the ghost as soon as we situated its girth into the stand. It would not drink plain water, evidently preferring hard cider, and has now dropped so many needles that underneath it lies a well-established forest floor ecosystem. I hope to discover the gift of morels under there soon, at least.
But I best heave it out because I plan to prepare spicy apricot and habanero jelly appetizers for the game tomorrow, even though I’m still reveling in the outstanding success of our own NAIA Champs — the fabulous Southern Oregon University Raiders with Coach Howard capably at the helm. I am concerned that, after consuming said appetizer, someone might breathe in the general direction of the poor, spent tree and create a flame-throwing event that has nothing to do with the halftime entertainment. Go Ducks!
This second phase of the winter break is almost as good as a brief suspension of time and turmoil — a chance to breathe, if not too deeply, contemplate what just happened, and set plans in motion for an untamed new year. Hope lies in wait, euphoric once again.
And while we’re on the subject of feeling lighter than air, I just want to brag a little that I packed up and stowed all leftover cookies and coffee cake in the freezer right after the kids headed home. Later in the day, I jeopardized some expensive dental work and challenged an old bridge by attempting to bite into the sweets while frozen. My advice would be to allow them to thaw. It only takes a couple minutes, but when the sweet tooth howls — and it’s had its way for several weeks now — weaning it requires patience.
Exercise is already a regular part of my year, though I recently took a hiatus from walking while my arms were laden with cookie sheets. I set off on the right fitness foot yesterday by challenging the cold, sunshiney day for a walk and letting a brisk wind slap me around a little. I noticed the temperature hovered around 35 degrees so I layered on gloves, scarf, warm jacket, wool socks and a stocking cap.
There was a slight delay when, halfway to my walking place, I stepped on the brakes and noticed I’d forgotten something. That’s when I had to turn around and go back to replace the fuzzy slippers with my Nikes.
While I’ll barely have time to wave as this New Year flows by, I’ll look for opportunities and plans that will fill blank calendar squares and supply us with Southern Oregon Journal fodder. Since organizing my life is a perennial favorite, the challenge of which never grows old, it’s a good place to begin.
To my faithful readers, may the year unfold in increasingly delightful ways for you both. And to the rest of you reading this while your clothes dry, have a fabulous New Year.
Peggy Dover is a freelance writer who works from a 1900 farmhouse in Eagle Point. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.