Rendered Fat Content


Unattributed photo of tree pruning crew, late 1800s
"… all things seem possible."

By mid-November, Autumn color's had its day. The enormous Maple takes to sporting an embarrassing combover, the crabapples have gone bald, and the sacred apricot has yet to lose a single golden leaf. The snowball bushes and the hydrangeas seem unaffected and the dogwood's apparently indifferent, still almost fully populated with scarlet leaves. The side yard's a shuffler's heaven, and I choose to leave those leaves where they've fallen, the better to overwinter whatever lies beneath them. I was once a fussy gardener, but no more. I pull no production-quality clean-up performance like some of our neighbors put on, like I used to, seemingly chasing down each freshly fallen before it hits the ground. My lawn will sport bare spots whether covered with leaves or not and besides, I've got a secret weapon. If history can still be counted upon, a Kindwind will soon descend and effectively put an end to the autumn leaf problem, which was more of a feature than a problem, anyway.

The Kindwind blows in off the Northern Pacific, bringing strong winds for this valley, sustaining at around twenty-five with greater gusts.
A Kindwind will blow for several sustaining hours, preferably overnight, for it has absolute magic to perform and magic's much better if the technique's mysterious. I woke in the middle fo my night to feel that wind buffeting our nearly refurbished home and I remembered innumerable past wind storms. Then, this old place would rattle like a derelict freighter. Now, it thunked when a gust caught it. The windows, even with window locks backordered, sound solid with fresh glazing and tightened trim. The fresh coats of paint achieved more than color change. They seem to have changed the very nature of those windows, taming them. They fit their frames like I'd never seen or imagined them fitting. The acoustics of the place were greatly improved by the vinyl planking, too, which quieted the traditional old building creaking, but the sounds within the house were hardly a sideshow when compared to what occurred outside.

I'd gone to bed the night before very aware that the front yard was awash in leaves again but that my refurbishing work had prevented me from keeping up with that chore. I need not have worried, for the Kindwind had already, buy halfway through its visit, blown the whole front yard clean of the last of the majestic Maple's leavings, helicopters and all. A few eddies, snowdrifts of leaves, persisted in the hollows where they will easily succumb to rake and tarp. The piles carefully placed in the street for the city crews to dispose of had been blown to the other side of town. I suppose that somebody lives at the ultimate downwind point here and that the Kindwind distributes the whole city's leaf fall into their yard. I'm certain that I don't live anywhere near that point!

The Kindwind resolves the tension. It acknowledges that Indian Summer's behind us now and that we'd best be accepting the necessity of baked squash for supper. The sauerkraut's been festering for a full six weeks now and fresh peaches, our constant companion well into October, simply are no longer available for any price. The last tomato succumbed for our supper last night and the trees, just yesterday still holding out, have finally gone naked. Winter's still six weeks out, but the garden's already hunkering. The leaves might need a few hours attention, but there will be no need for follow-up sessions. The first hard frost has not yet come, but the cover which might protect any delicate from its ravages has left the building. My begonias huddle in the cold frame waiting for a sill inside.

The Kindwind resolves that tension and confirms the worst, bringing a sort of salvation. I'd still been holding onto my summer, struggling to even acknowledge Autumn. My coat's still packed away somewhere. After the Kindwind, though, I'm shedding those delusions. I feel more present. What I so recently quietly dreaded came to pass overnight, in a cognitive instant. This patient didn't suffer long. Once encountered, once experienced, the dread fled and I felt more present. Yes, a bleak season starts here. No, I need not fear what comes next. I could be up for this. It might become an adventure. The Grand Refurbish ain't quite accomplished yet. I'm watching the thermometer to confirm that it's not too cold to paint and waiting for the odd early standard time sunrise to come so that I can get started. On the far side of the Kindwind now, all things seem possible.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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