Autumn Joy

If there is a better autumn than the one we are experiencing right now, I can’t imagine it.

I just finished a three-day holiday sale held in my house and have been denied the pleasures of nature pretty much all week. I could see sunny skies and the accumulation of leaves, but I was chained to the checkout desk in my sunroom.

In fact, I’ve been cleaning and prepping for this sale since August and I’ll be cleaning up from the sale likely until Christmas day. I now feel genuine sympathy and empathy for those folks who cleaned furiously and laid new carpet before I arrived with photographer in tow to do a story on their house for the Home section in the La Crosse Tribune. I used to say, “Don’t worry about the dust. It won’t show up in the photos.”

But, of course, they worried about the dust, just as I did. I knew people who had long wished to see inside my house would arrive ready to inspect every nook and cranny available to them. And I had a mysterious black ring on my hardwood flooring in the sunroom. I haven’t yet figured out how to fix that.

Still, I survived and so did the house. My sister has left town with a loaded van. I am left with weeks of work to return my house to what it was (but maybe better) before the sale.

So most of today I spent moving from one task to another — not hurrying, but getting work done.

I got the sheets on the line and they are now back on the bed. Empty ornament boxes have been returned to the basement. The microwave and toaster have been set free from the garage and returned to the kitchen counter.

Perhaps I should have raked, but at 5 p.m., as the light was fading on this first day where we turned the clocks back an hour, I decided I need a twilight autumn bike ride. So my trusty Schwinn and I set off through the neighborhood streets and alleys, guided by a bright almost half moon.

The scent of wood smoke wafted through the still night air even as one homeowner set the sprinklers going on his lawn.

Is this really Nov. 6?

Yes, I have a lot of packing and cleaning and rearranging to do. But that can happen tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

Yes, there are leaves to rake. But while the rest of you drag yourselves to work on another busy Monday, I can go out and increase my leaf piles.

But in the twilight autumn, a bike ride just seems more necessary.


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