It’s strange the things you notice when your attention isn’t diverted a hundred different ways.
Taking the dog for a walk the other morning, I was struck by how loud the leaves were as they fell from the trees. Have they always been that loud? Or was it just because there wasn’t too much traffic on the street and the dog and I had the sidewalk to ourselves? Regardless of the reason, it was a bit unusual to hear leaves falling. But then I got to enjoy the crisp crunch of them underfoot; truly one of the joys of fall and much better than raking them up in the backyard.
I remember when, on Sunday afternoons in the fall after church, our family would head out to some property where my dad had permission to cut down trees. We would get in the ‘supply’ which we then used as firewood throughout the winter, in the fireplace and woodstove.
Hearing the leaves underfoot while walking the dog took me right back to cool, sunny late autumn afternoons in upstate New York, the sound of a chainsaw as my dad cut down the trees and buzzed it up into pieces the rest of us would carry to the truck and stack in the bed.
Autumn also brought the chance to do some cider pressing and a recent phone conversation with my dad confirmed he still did use his small cider press this year to bottle up some of nature’s goodness for friends.
I’m sure my brother, sister and I would rather have been settled in front of the TV or even doing homework on those chilly Sunday afternoons than hauling wood but it definitely was nice to reap the rewards. There was nothing like hearing the fire crackle in the fireplace or sitting on the hearth to warm up when autumn gave way to snowy winters.
Back when the pandemic hit in mid-March, I had just purchased a ticket for an early summer trip back east. Reluctantly, I had to postpone it and my daughter and I thought maybe we could work in a holiday trip to spend Christmas with the New York part of the family. But since things really haven’t settled down and none of us can afford to self-quarantine for two weeks after traveling, that won’t be happening either. My voucher is good through March 2021 … which really isn’t that far away so there’s no telling if I will get to use it.
Hopefully, yes, but we will just have to wait and see.
The Christmas shopping is continuing, though, and if I may, a word of warning. A couple of friends have recently been duped by online sellers so just be careful that you are buying from a reputable source.
In one case, a $20 ‘sea glass’ Christmas tree that promised bright colors and beauty reminiscent of the ocean instead was nothing more than a maybe four-inch high clear plastic tree – you had to turn on the light to get the ‘sea glass’ effect. The tree probably wasn’t worth the postage required to send it. To make matters worse, my friend ordered two; one for herself and one for her sister. Not even worthy of using as a Christmas gift for your worst enemy at the office gift exchange.
In another case, a gorgeous wreath appeared to be handmade and, based on the advertising, looked like it would be the perfect front door welcome for the holidays.
However, when that little piece of trickery arrived, it was a photo of the aforementioned gorgeous wreath printed on a small round pillow of sorts, not really big enough to use as a throw pillow. A throw out pillow, maybe, but nothing to display with pride.
Guess it wouldn’t be the holidays without some unscrupulous characters looking to make a quick buck, right?
So just be careful, shop wisely … and maybe, during this unprecedented season, take a little time to listen to the leaves fall.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.