The weather has been getting progressively colder here, in Northern Virginia.
Last week, Charlie flew out to California for a business trip and while he was there, he rented a convertible mustang for a few days. When he returned, early Saturday morning, he had a deep tan and a slightly sunburned nose. Meanwhile, there was frost on our windows and I was wearing a wool sweater and a pair of mittens.
IN the house.
Yes, the heat was on, but not too high, because after setting the thermostat at 70 for much of last week, my hands were so dry, they were cracked and bleeding.
Although we've both lived in colder climates, we've been in California so long that our blood has really thinned. Or at least mine has. William is affected by the cold, as is Elizabeth. Carolyn and Henry think nothing of it and would traipse outside in shorts and t-shirts if we let them.
This past weekend, we bundled up in scarves and hats and gloves and went for a hike in the woods behind our house. Ten minutes in to it, I looked over to see that Henry was wading up to his thighs in the creek. What? HOW? How is it possible that my genetic structure that has an extreme intolerance for discomfort skipped clear over that child?
Here it is, the second week of November, and I'm questioning how I will survive winter which hasn't yet arrived.
Charlie and I had a discussion the other day, when we woke up and the outside temperature was in the low 30's. Actually, it wasn't as much of a discussion as it was a panic session. We talked about contingency plans and emergency supplies. What if we lost power and couldn't heat the house? We definitely need to have a sufficient amount of wood on hand to burn. We need candles! and blankets! and water!
We need dried food and canned food, we need batteries and a hand held radio, we need matches and ... and ... and maybe a generator? Charlie will need to learn how to bow hunt between now and the first snowfall. And then he'll need to learn how to skin a deer so we'll have protein.
Huh. Or, maybe we'll just have a surplus of beans and rice?
As we spoke, I had visions of being trapped in the house for days on end. I imagined wrapping our children in every blanket we own in an effort to keep them warm. I told Charlie that maybe he should consider growing a beard to protect his face, and I'll stop shaving my legs.
Good heavens, in California, we've been through magnitude 7 earthquakes and our neighborhood was evacuated TWICE for wildfires. And yet, we were never as genuinely concerned there for our survival as we've been here. You'd think we were living in a grass hut on the tundra, as opposed to a brick house in the mid-Atlantic that has a durable roof and is fairly well insulated.
In the midst of going totally primal, I've really enjoyed the foliage. Each time I go out, I take my camera and am often snapping off pictures. I've still got California plates on my car, so I'm sure that people think I'm a total nut leaning out the driver side window with my zoom lens.
I'm really a very good driver.
It just looks like I'm on the wrong side of the road.
And here? Well, the sign is upside down. Definitely not me.
The leaves, which were green just a short while ago, are bursting with color before our eyes.
I've seen foliage before, but I've never felt the gobsmacked awe that I do now. There's no doubt, the millions and millions of small leaves each have their own little secret about what magnificent color they will turn in to, as the landscape transforms in to something more beautiful than a picture. Just driving to work, it feels like I'm in the middle of an art masterpiece.
I'm so glad I could take in all this splendor before my eyes froze shut.