A few weeks ago, fall blew into the Ozarks on a wet and blustery wind. I knew it was coming. All the signs were lined up. Children returned to school over a month ago. Halloween candy and costumes are stacked high in the stores while Christmas decor is is overflowing from it's waiting spot in the wings.
Outside the trees are donning their seasonal colors. The fog is slower to burn off under the weak morning sun, and there's a chilly snap in the air. Thin plumes of smoke have started emerging from chimneys tinging the air with the smell the burning wood. Pumpkin spice is being hotly debated over social media. Extra blankets are dug out of storage while sweaters, jackets, and boots replace summer gear at the front of the closet.
It's so scenic. Quite Currier and Ives... Hell, I've been cold for two weeks solid as dark, cloudy skies have dumped days of rain on us. Luckily, I'm not sweet enough to melt.
The house feels constantly damp. The air and everything I own is permeated with, let's say, more of a classic wet dog odor than pumpkin-anything. No matter how often I wipe them up, the floor is constantly decorated with muddy paw prints.
Archer, the approximately five-month, Baby Huey brand puppy that was unexpectedly thrust into my life, has mastered the trick of getting past me at the door. His huge paws tracking mud as he races around and around the couch before jumping up to plop his wet butt on the cushions. With his tongue lolling out in a wide and happy grin, I can just imagine him saying, "And in the morning, I'm making waffles."
Kif, my two-year-old dog also races inside with a vengeance but his motive is to make sure his food dish is safe. Once satisfied no one has eaten from his bowl, he checks to make sure the kittens haven't trespassed into dog territory. Of course, they have. They jumped the gate, to what was once my study and is now their domain, the moment they heard the backdoor shut.
I've been trying to socialize the four together with mixed success. Lately, the kittens have been standing their ground. Refusing to run back to safety. Their audacity has resulted in thorough lickings. I've learned that rescuing a cat completely drenched in dog spit isn't my idea of fun.
But I've been smug. My escape planned. Tickets had been booked months ago. I was headed to Arizona for a much needed visit with my daughter under rich azure skies with lots of sun. Sweet, sweet sunshine which was in short supply this year in Missouri. I might wear jeans and a jacket on the plane but my suitcase held shorts, sandals, and t-shirts.
Yes, I checked the weather forecast for Phoenix. On the phone, my daughter said it was unusually cool. I scoffed. After all, I'd been living in Thomas Hood's poem November.
No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day
I arrived in the state known for having the most sunshine to find it overcast and cold. For three days straight I've worn the only pair of jeans I brought. As I type, my hands are freezing and I've a throw over my legs. There is no sun. There is no heat. Arizona is not living up to its name and the insult is overwhelming.
But I'm still so glad I here. My daughter's smile is brighter than any sun and I've been enjoying seeing my heart-grandkids. My, how they've grown.
My trip to not-so-sunny Arizona ends this weekend, and it will be hard to leave. However, I might find Missouri's fickle weather will be warm again.
As a landlocked Missourian, I feel guilty complaining about rain. Yes, we flood here in the heartland, and it can be destructive. However, it is nothing like being directly in a hurricane's path. My heart goes out to those hit by these deadly storms. In no way am I trying to diminish their suffering with my lighthearted pettiness.
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