Today dawned cold and damp with a steely sky and bright leaves beginning to make a real show of autumn color. Finally, fall seems ready to give us a look at the world in orange, yellow, rust, and moss green, with occasional patches of the brilliant red leaves of the “burning bush” shrubs in the back of my house. Light from the hidden morning sun glinted off of the pond far below my house.

At noon wood was laid for me and lighted into a roaring blaze. It was our first daytime fire. It was a beautiful conflagration in our spacious old fireplace in the old part of the house. Sitting at a gaming table that faced the fire, I typed away on my computer.

I was trying to get things done and do some writing, but my little dog kept jumping in my lap. She would look at me with those loving eyes and snuggle. That makes it really hard to get anything done. She is a terrible time waster. My dogs are such dear companions and so forgiving and full of unconditional love. How can I ignore this one? She weighs only 10lbs, but she is pure muscle and warm skin with a short reddish-tan fur coat. The other two are both long-haired dachshunds, but Sisi’s coat is smooth. Everybody that comes to my house loves her. She is just as loving to a person she has never seen before as she is to one of my family. One friend said to me as she sat on a sofa with my small dog in her lap, “When you die, will you leave me this little dog in your will?” The question made everybody laugh as the speaker was in her 90s and I in my 70s. But it illustrates how easily people fall in love with my little girl.

The view from my back terrace

Pushing her off my lap gently, I continue with this posting. My question to you dear reader, is; are you ready for fall? It’s really truly fall, now. This weekend daylight is gonna change! Daylight saving time leaves us, and darkness will overtake us an hour before now. Each day will be darker earlier than the last up to December 21st, the Winter Solstice. I love this change because my cooking changes with it. It’s time for concocting stews and soups and all sorts of cold-weather food that sticks to your ribs. I often serve this in bowls that you hold on your lap as you sit by the fire. Or I may set up a table in the library with that beautiful fireplace. We can eat in a civilized manner but still admire the leaping flames and shared warmth. Watching a fire is a very contemplative action. There is nothing to it. Just sit and examine the light, the energy, and the crackling enthusiastic reaction of fire consuming the wood before our eyes. If you do it long enough, thoughts and ideas may spring to life in your brain. Be still. It is something many people need to practice. Do not turn on the Television. Do not check your phone for Facebook or Instagram postings. Just be there. Now.

Dandy & Sisi

In a world saturated with propaganda and fear-mongering day and night, it is good for the soul just to stop listening. No harm will come from this, and perhaps untold good will stem from those quiet moments. If you have a pet or a child or a mate or a parent with you, hug them and tell them you love them. Hugs can be a tonic and very healing for you both, even if it is only your dog or your cat that you are hugging. Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

If a human is not available, a dog or a cat can do very nicely. Fall and winter have always seemed like the best times for hugs and touching. Summer can be so hot, and skin is sticky. Hugs are best done naked in hot weather. But that does not work for people without a partner. Winter is good hugging weather. It keeps you warm and all the other benefits such as raising your immune system, regulating your heart rate, and making you feel loved or appreciated. Today ended with a snuggle on the sofa in the library. The embers still glowing in the fireplace as the flames ebbed out. My three dogs sacked out, two on the sectional sofa with me and one in an adjoining chair. It was a peaceful time. It is a time to take stock and be grateful for health and happiness, and to realize that this is a good time in my life. Watching a fire burn furiously and then die down is a wondrous way to stay in the moment.

Magnus, snoozing by the fire

Copyright©. 2020 Bonnie B. Matheson

%d bloggers like this: