Photo: There are a few things that make living in New England worth it.
The temperature in the house got down to 65 on Saturday night and The Husband decided to turn on the head. I only half-heartedly objected: “Oh, but if we make it to mid-night, we’ll have made it to October without turning on the heat! That’ll be a new record!”
The Husband thought about it, sincerely enticed, but then flipped the switch. It was only going to get colder and uncomfortable, even under the blankets. So the clang and clatter of my beloved radiators were reintroduced to the house after months of silence. We ran around making sure nothing was sitting on top of them. We relished the sweet smell of their return. I mimicked their hiss and giggled at the first pops and bangs. We wondered if the boys would notice.
And we felt better.
It’s sad to see the summer warmth go. Ya’ll know how much I loathe the winter. But there is something to be said about these sweet transition months, when the warm notes of freshly brewing coffee intermingle with the sweet smell of the wood and the radiators. I share the first moments of the day with the reassuring roar of the boiler and the encouraging song (or screech, if you ask The Husband) of the grind ‘n’ brew. Extra unsalted butter and flour are on the list for this month’s Costco run. Baking season is back in earnest! First on the list? Pumpkin white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, with half the batch to be sent to a good friend far away.
When the boys and I walked down the driveway this morning, the temperature was 37 degrees. The boys hunched their shoulders and put their hands in their pockets. They huddled close to me while they waited for the bus. I laughed at them. “I spoiled you with those rides to school last year, fools,” I laughed.
“You did,” Major agreed.
The thing about this transition time is it means re-thinking our routines. The cozy warmth of extra blankets and radiator heat means that little boys want to stay in their beds for longer in the morning. And cold milk and cereal is less appealing than it used to be (which means a few fights with Minor). And jackets need to be found and put on before heading out the door. Boot time will be coming soon… I suspect both of the boys will need new ones this year. Lordy! The good news? It’s sweater season and I do so love my super-long cardigans. And maybe it’s time to think about a new pair of ankle boots. Matter of fact, I ordered a new Stitch Fix today to explore some possibilities because I have to show up for some functions this month! I’ll write a post when they arrive!
Today was the first day in a few weeks where I stayed home all day and actually got some work done. I’m getting this blog post done a little early in the hopes of getting some fiction time in before it’s time to go to bed. I didn’t touch Silverwood this weekend. I don’t know what’s going on. I suspect I need to start this chapter over and try again. My story coach is back from a trip over seas, so I’ve gotta get back on schedule.
I’m rambling on and on because I know some of ya’ll want to know what I think about the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas today. I woke up this morning frustrated about plenty else and then I turned on the television and saw the headline. What more is there to say? What more is there to do in this world? I vote my values. I contribute monetarily to the organizations and leaders who are fighting for the things I care about. And yet… and yet… and yet…
And every day, I wake up and send a first grader to school. I think about Sandy Hook often. So often. Too often.
I wrote this today because I honestly don’t have anything else to offer. I’m just… I’m so tired.
It wasn’t you or me today. It wasn’t our children. It wasn’t where we are. But tomorrow, beloved. Tomorrow? Could it be tomorrow? And then where will they be? Thinking and praying? Not working or changing or reflecting or lawmaking? Simply thinking and praying, like that’s their job?
I’m grateful it wasn’t you or me today. I’m so grateful it wasn’t our children. I’m relieved to know it wasn’t where we are.
Oh, but tomorrow, beloved. Tomorrow. I know that it could be tomorrow. Because I know where they are today and I know where they’ll be tomorrow: thinking and praying. Not working or changing or reflecting or lawmaking.
They’ll simply be thinking and praying, because they’ve decided that’s their job.
And you and me? We’ll be here. Wondering when and how we lost something so basic and yet so precious as the expectation to be in a place and not be shot by someone who had access to a machine created for the sole purpose of death, destruction and mayhem. Wondering what the exact point of abdication was. When, beloved, did we forfeit?
While we’re wondering,
We’ll be working because we are required to work.
We’ll be changing because we are required to change.
We’ll be reflecting because we are at our best when we’re sincerely reflective.
Ah… but as to that lawmaking…
So powerless, ultimately… aren’t we? We have to trust someone to do that for us, don’t we? What has that earned us? Is there nobody we can turn to?
Keep working for a better world, beloved. Someone around here has to.
It’s been such a long trial this year, self-inflicted by our own apathy, inability to better speak to our neighbors, our complete and utter vacuum of moral or intellectual leadership… and yet still, I have to send a little plea: don’t give up on us. We’re worth the fight.
And I believe it. You know I do. We’re worth the fight. We’ve currently got the republic that we deserve, but we have the capacity to change. We have the capacity to rise to the occasion of more, of better. We could, if we wanted to, if we worked for it, become the people we’re supposed to be. The people my boys don’t even know they’re depending on.
We have to be.
I expect us to be.
So please ask your representatives to stop thinking and praying and, instead, get to work.
It’s Monday and there are things that must be done, Dear Reader. I’m here for it. I hope you are, too.
Until Wednesday, stay safe and take care.