To everything, there is a season

So now we begin our forced march towards winter. There is no choice but to put one foot in front of the other and soldier on into certain peril. November’s gloom looms on the horizon and March won’t enter the frame until six months from now. It’s almost time to pack up the cans and condiments, put away the deck chairs, and clean the fridge before sealing up the cottage time capsule for yet another year. A task that’s enough like every Sunday night to feel familiar yet so very different.

Everything takes on a particular gravitas when you know it will be the last time you will do it or maybe not really the last time it will be done but the last time before winter and the last time before summer rolls around again. Some of this is because of the delicate nature of certain end-of-season chores like winterizing the plumbing, which has clear potential for disaster, while others are equally liable to end in tragedy, but less obviously so. Things like:

1. Forgetting to repatriate the items essential for the winter beach vacation. Unless you wait until March (which everyone knows is not a valid substitute for a January or February trip), good luck trying to buy suitable clothes.

2. Putting the sheets away in a brand new place that seems so logical and such a brilliant solution to whatever the problem was with where you used to put them away. Only it won’t seem so logical come April.

3. Placing half-read books back on the bookshelf without a bookmark, especially if the only reason they were half-read is that they got forgotten when a new shiny object of reading desire shoved them down to the bottom of the pile. There is nothing worse than picking up a book in the spring and thinking you have read it already even though you only made it part way through.

4. Not adequately cleaning the oven. Thanksgiving oven detritus tends to become even more petrified over winter. And if you are under the mistaken assumption the oven was left clean in the fall and fail to do a spring inspection, be afraid, be very afraid.

5. Leaving the lounge chair cushions in the ‘dock box’, hoping they will remain unmolested by rodents (with and without bushy tails) that are known to prefer a comfortable winter camping spot.

But, as the saying goes, to everything there is a season. If not for winter how could we embrace spring? There’s a time to hunker down and a time to fling open the windows. A time to plant daffodils and a time to accidentally dig them up in the early spring while planting something else. And, of course, a time to just enjoy the time we are in right now instead of some distant glimmer of summer.

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