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The Heavenly Switches

Friday, October 30, 2015

The birding tower on our house, a late load of laundry that hung out overnight.
 All the photos in this post were taken from its top.

Along about Columbus Day I said, "Well, I guess there's not going to be a real autumn this year. The leaves just aren't there. They're going to fall off, still green. Or they'll go brown. Maybe there wasn't enough rain toward the end of summer. Or we haven't had enough light frosts. It's just so dull."

And then, O Me of Little Faith, it began to happen. And happen and happen. And right now it's happening so fast and so fabulously I just can't...
Part of me can't even stand it.
I forget to climb the tower for a few days and I go up there, open the hatch and pop up the top and there's THIS.
All this going on all around. A quiet riot.
Smack for a color junkie. The good stuff, mainlined.

I get overstimulated. I'm restless and edgy and the only thing that helps is going out and staying out.

It's really, truly all too much for me.  These photos, taken while spinning dizzily in the tower, watching the sky wizard throwing the light switch On. Off. On. Half. Three Quarters. 

Everything--the light, the color, the mood--changing moment by moment, second by second! 

The sumac, suddenly afire in the little prairie patch.



Whoa!! Mood swing!

I think I can hear a maniacal cackle. "Here we go! Let's blow their little minds! How about a little WIND, Scarecrow?"

Blow those clouds across. Tear some leaves loose.  Flip the light switch. Make it change so fast their heads snap. Remind them that nothing lasts forever. Or even for a minute. Change, the only constant.

And just like that, the light is gone, covered in cloud, and I stand, considering the trees. These radiant lollipops of color, each one trying on a different dress.  Changing it every morning, every minute. Showgirls, dancing their best, for those who will watch. I remember going over to a friend's house when I was young. They had central air conditioning and a color TV, both things we didn't have.  I was there a lot. Their house was like a big dark walk-in refrigerator, blinds always drawn against the sun and heat. They were from Texas, where people know how to deal with sun and heat.  My friend and I watched variety shows on TV, and I used to marvel at the blinding color of the dancer's dresses. Back then, variety shows had troops of female dancers, and they'd all come out to dance a number midway through the show. An odd concept, now. There'd be a red one, an orange one, a yellow one, a blue one. A green one. Of course in the midst of a sweltering, sticky Virginia summer, I thought all that was pretty wonderful. But I always felt like I'd been released from the hospital when I came out of that house. It wasn't right, in so many ways, to shut myself away from the light. Now I can't sit down to watch TV at all. I hover, pace, find something that needs to be done. There's always something that needs to be done instead.

I stand in the tower, remembering, my eyes roaming over the trees in their pretty dresses.

And then the switch gets thrown again and the lights go ON and I am jolted from my reverie, blown away. Not knowing what to do with all this extravagant beauty, other than to be out, every day, drinking it in, reveling, making low animal noises, groaning with the burden, the need to appreciate now, now, now, before it's all gone. I have to be out. The winds are coming, and the rain.


How wonderful is your tower! We have a tower on our house, but alas, it is an old Victorian and the tower is just for cannot safely get up to the stupid high windows. It tickled me..more than you might see that you hang out laundry. I do, always have, and like to. The best birding seems to happen when I am looking up to pinch on a clothespin. Bald Eagles often as we live on the river and near a good nesting site, this fall a kettle of hawks, once a Wilson's Warbler, you never know what you'll see up there. It is a good thing, this drying of clothes outdoors, but hardly anyone does it any more. Except the can always spot the Amish farms by the clotheslines. They must know something..

Ah threecollie, like you, I believe colorful laundry on a line enhances any photo. I take a lot of photos of laundry. Usually mine, sometimes other people's. I'm sorry you can't get up to your tower windows. I'd be teetering on a stepstool if it were mine, or having someone build me a set of fold-down stairs. Think about it! Maybe there's a way!

Yesterday, while "pinching a clothespin" (love your turn of words) I spied three black vultures cruising over, spying on me. Uncommon, unexpected, surrounded by wisps of wizard clouds. Yep. Looking up, birding while hanging out sheets in the crisp wind. And yes, the Amish know so much that we never did, or forgot generations ago. I count myself lucky to live near where they do, to be able to shop in their bulk stores, Lehmann's Hardware, where they still sell hand-powered coffee grinders and apple peelers!

Thanks for the memories and the fabulous writing.


Kinda blows my mind, how you put into words what's going on in my head as well. Edgy, restless, must go OUT.

I'm so glad you shared your beautiful area with us. And took time to capture it's many different expressions. Your views were mind blowing.

Wow! What a breath-taking view from your tower! The trees here are a riot of color as well -- after several years running of being rather meh. There must have been the right mix of sun and rain this year. I always look for an excuse to take the back roads anyplace, so that I can goggle at the trees.

Posted by Anonymous October 30, 2015 at 5:48 PM

your writing is a bit like sitting in a room with a manic-depressive person, not much rhyme and very little reason, it leaves one more than a bit exhausted.

Posted by Anonymous October 31, 2015 at 4:35 PM

SOMEone needs a NAP.

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