Tuesday, October 05, 2010

toe shoes and soldiers

Mother Nature could be one of my Mexican neighbors.  To her, time is not as important as relationships.

The calendar may say that fall arrived two weeks ago.  But Mother knows best.

For the past two weeks we have had mid-summer weather in the Willamette Valley.  Two weeks that now look like a lovely parting gift.  Because summer is at an end.

When I headed out the back door to work yesterday, the sky was almost clear.  But the light blanket of warm humidity I had grown accustomed to was gone.  Replaced by a lovely 45 degree briskness.  Perfect for an equally brisk walk to work.

But not everyone got the memo about fall.  Bushtits and sparrows were doing their melodic best to defend their ever-decreasing territories.  Before they pack up their bags and head south.  Leaving room for the juncos to move in once the snows start in the Cascades.

This blog once referred to the author as "a boy from Powers."  That was partially true.  My family lived in Powers when I was young.  But we moved to the Portland area after my third grade.

I have some very fond memories of living in Powers.  Especially, of my grandmother's house.  Whenever I would stay there.  I would rise early and feel the chill of fall mornings in the coastal mountains.  The same chill I felt this week.

There were always boyish battles to fight.  Over the years, I had collected a variety of toy soldiers I stored in an old Maxwell House can.  West Point cadets.  War of the Roses knights.  Roman legionnaires.  Battle of the Bulge infantry.  It was almost as if Toy Story had merged with Night at the Museum.

But battles need a purpose.  Each side in these vegetable garden set-tos had a queen.  A symbolic queen plucked from a fuchsia bush. 

For some reason, fuchsias always reminded me of ballerinas.  Perhaps it was the toxic of effect of too much Nutcracker Suite at a young age.  And I assumed all ballerinas were queens. 

By the time the battles were complete, the sun had its effect on the poor fuchsia blooms.  What was once a thing of beauty was soon reduced to a flattened mat of color.  An early lesson of the futility of war.

Yesterday morning I walked through the grounds of my old law school.  And there it was.  A
fuchsia bush along the walkway.  Boyhood memories started tumbling out of my head.

I have no idea what became of my coffee can soldiers.  Maybe they are the playthings of another boy now.

Trying to fight off the effects of the seasons as futilely as the lonely bushtits and sparrows.


Leah said...

Your post made me miss that fall chill in the morning. I'm happy here most of the year, but I miss living NOB (Ohio) the most during the month of October. :(

But, today in Veracruz I woke up to 70 and partly sunny, and for us that's a brisk morning. I'll take it gladly. Better than sweat.

Anonymous said...

this post was like poetry. i really enjoyed reading it. i could just see you and your brother tossing those soldiers back and forth and it also brought memories of visiting my grandma's house in cuba. when i was a little girl, my parents would take me out there by train as there were no roads that far into the countryside. whenever i hear frogs and crickets, i immediately think of "la casa de mi abuela en el campo."

enjoy the beautiful weather!


Calypso said...

I DO NOT miss the cold....

Adrienne said...

The word "relationships" has appeared in two successive posts. Do we have a fall-to-winter, or Oregon- to-Mexico, or I'm-getting-more-pensive theme going on here?

NWexican said...

Uhemmmmm, did we lose ya?
I am just getting to the point that I cannot live without my daily Or-to-Mex updates..... Where are ya?

Steve Cotton said...

Leah -- I will miss the morning chill. But it will be good for me to get out of here and back to retirement.

Teresa -- Poetry, eh? Thank you very much.

Calypso -- But you have found a life where you can scoot along.

Adrienne -- My plan is to return to Mexico for the time being. But who knows where adventure may call me. A year in Greece sounds nice.

NWexican -- I have simply not been able to find time to write. But I will soon. Mexico calls. Just four short weeks and I am gone.