|Ripe Persimmon among Changing Leaves|
Leaves all over the rolling hills are changing color. Persimmons are orange like the carved pumpkins on porches. Caterpillars are fat and falling out of the trees. Eagles are returning and hummingbirds are departing. The harvest has passed and the market is full of a kaleidoscope of delicious foods.
The other morning frost tinged the world for the first time this season. To many Americans the colder weather makes their houses become warmer and their heating bills higher. But for anyone heating their home with wood alone, the cold weather presents a new struggle.
Firewood must be cut, hauled, and split. Kindling must be kept dry and plentiful. Each morning you wake to frosty clouds rising as you exhale. As you stumble to the fireplace in your pajamas, you hope that coals are still smoldering under the ashes. If there are no coals the fire must be started from scratch. It becomes a science and a ritual.
This year, staying in a modern house, I have a gas wall furnace. It requires no splitting, starting, or stoking. The thermostat is set and regardless of what the weather does we stay effortlessly comfortable. Removed from but not unaware of the environmental impact of drilling for the fossil fuel we are burning.
I miss the flames. I miss the intensity. I even miss feeling the winter's crisp grasp.