I’ve finally taken the new felt-lined slippers out of their box that had been sitting in the bedroom for all of September. I’d been stubborn about letting the summer leave and even resisted the fall a bit. Switching over to slippered from bare feet was a form of surrender and I don’t ever give up that easily.

But the wood floors in our house have gotten colder and the tiles in the kitchen even more so. Old Pepper seems to enjoy stretching out on them in the morning and I wonder how an arthritic old dog can enjoy the cold. But she’s never followed any rules other than her own and is quite happy to show you where you’re wrong.

My mother used to “change the closets” at this time of the year which meant taking the summer clothes and boxing them up in mothballs for storage in the basement bin room in our apartment building. Then the heavier pants and long sleeved shirts were brought up along with the thick coats to be aired and hung for daily use.

My sister still follows this ritual and sets aside a calendar day to do it. I’ve never been one to carry on this practice which is probably why my closets are always overstuffed and why I can never find something from one season to the next. A favorite short-sleeved summer shirt always gets lost while the thick hooded sweatshirt I use for morning walks usually isn’t found until halfway thru winter. But like Old Pepper, I defy convention while complaining about the consequences.

There are a few more leaves on the lawn than last week and I just may give the grass one more cut before retiring the mower for the winter. I have no snow blower to prepare since I’ll most likely wait until the first threat of a heavy winter storm to find out the stores are sold out like last year.

The convenience of one is beginning to look more attractive as I get older although I don’t want to add to the morning din of yet another gas powered engine. But sometimes good sense should take prevalence over convention. I guess that’s why Old Pepper and I have always gotten along, forgiving each other our stubborn habits.

Last week we had driven up to Troy to visit relatives for the weekend and included a day trip up to Vermont which sounds farther that it was. We were hoping to catch the change in the leaves and would be treated to the oranges, reds, and browns of the new season. The stands by the side of the road offered up their rows and pyramids of both orange and white pumpkins looking thick and fat in the bright weekend sun. But the trees themselves held stubbornly on to their leaves from a warm autumn and late rains.

No one seems to be  giving in to winter that easily this year.

Emerald Lake, Vermont © Jeff Kopito

[Simultaneously published in the Glen Cove Patch…]