Ready or Not

Fall has finally arrived, but I’m not ready for it.  I’m not ready yet to say goodbye to Summer, with its long, hot days and warm nights.  I don’t want to pack away all my Summer clothes and exchange my sandals for shoes and socks.  I hate the way the flowers in the pots around my patio are beginning to wilt and wither no matter how much I water them, and the way the daylight is fading just a bit earlier with each passing week.  Yes, I know the calendar says Summer officially ended over a week ago, but in my mind, there should be at least another month of it to go.

Part of the problem is that my husband and I didn’t get to have much of a Summer this year.  He had a bad reaction to surgery in early July, and his extended hospitalization and recovery period meant we had to abandon our plans for a Summer getaway trip.  And it seemed as if by the time my husband was finally feeling well enough to enjoy Summer activities, the season was practically over.  I think it’s hard to move on to a new season when you don’t feel as if you really experienced the old one.

My guess is that a lot of people are feeling that way these days, even though their personal situation isn’t exactly the same as ours.  We’ve been living through some very strange times, mostly due to the horrible pandemic that refuses to go away, and also because of the many natural disasters that have occurred and what feels like more than our usual share of political upheaval.  So many of us have felt the loss of the things that we hold dear about our normal lives, and it’s only natural to have trouble letting go of our expectations and moving forward.

The trouble is, we don’t really have a choice.  Time marches steadily on, usually faster than we would prefer, and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it.  Clinging to our ideas of “what should have been” doesn’t get us anywhere we want to be, and it actually makes it harder to move into the future with any hope or sense of purpose.  The only thing to do is move forward, appreciating what we have and anticipating what is to come.  Because there will always be something to enjoy and treasure if we can just open our eyes and see it.

IMG_4023So I’m dragging out my Fall decorations, placing pumpkins and mums on my front porch, and pretty soon I’ll bake the traditional pumpkin pie that, to me, always signals the beginning of this season.  I know that the leaves on the trees will soon be exploding in beautiful colors and that the shorter days mean cooler nights, which are perfect for enjoying on our patio.  No, I didn’t get the Summer I had hoped for, but who knows?  This Fall might just make up for it.  It’s worth a try, anyway.

100 thoughts on “Ready or Not

  1. Oh Ann, we are often thinking the same stuff. It seems as if in my youth there were always four distinct seasons. Now, as you said, with stuff going on and temperatures and weather going crazy we seem to have lost that. Count your blessings though, I have to make myself do that now and again, but life is good.

    That pie looks so good too. I don’t do pumpkin but maybe I will make an apple pie from scratch this fall, crust and all, I used to do that more often. (The secret is lard for the crust, it is not healthy, but there really is not replacement for it.)

    Great post as always, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Joe! It is hard to lose our four distinct seasons. And I think you should make that apple pie. I have also heard that the secret to a really good pie crust is lard. And honestly, homemade pie tastes so good that who cares if it’s healthy?

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  2. I relate to this. Although, I’m happy to say goodbye to the triple-digit summer temperatures where I live, I can’t quite wrap my head that we’re entering the last few months of 2021. Didn’t this year just begin?? I hope you have a happy Fall season. 🙂

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  3. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s easier to adjust my attitude and expectations than to change the world: especially the natural world.. I’ll admit that real autumn can’t come quickly enough for me, but I still have a few weeks — two? four? — to wait before the cooler weather gets here. It sure is going to make working and hiking more comfortable — and I do love the smell of woodsmoke!

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    • You’re so right about adjusting our own expectations….we waste so much energy when we try to recreate the world to be as we want it. Things don’t work that way. We can change our own lives, and perhaps our own little corner of the world, and that’s about it. I hope that you get cooler weather soon and are enjoying your Fall, whenever it finally arrives!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Martha! And you might want to know that I have shared your post, “A Different Kind of Bucket List” with several of my friends. It not only explains where my husband and I are now, but it also speaks to all those other people who are in the same position. Your blog is a gift to so many, and I hoe you know that!

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  4. Where we live, it’s still feels like summer so I have several more weeks (yay!). You’ve had a challenging summer so I can understand why you might feel like you missed some of the joys of the season. I say, bake that pumpkin pie and enjoy your cooler evenings on the patio. Don’t let another season feel like it zoomed by too quickly (except winter… winter can zoom all it wants 🙂 ).

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    • Although I sort of envy the Summer temps you are still enjoying, I really appreciate your message. Yes, my husband and I missed out on a lot of Summer, but you’re right: that’s all the more reason to make sure we enjoy each and every moment of Fall! And as for Winter: may it pass quickly and uneventfully is all I can say!

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  5. That pie looks good! Here in Australia I am having the opposite feeling: I dread the long relentless heat of summer, with droughts/bushfires/tropical storms, and air conditioners humming everywhere. This morning I sadly packed away my thick woollen winter quilt, knowing it will be many months till I see it again… but such is the passing of time hey? G 🙂

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    • Where I live, Summer isn’t quite so extreme. But I sure understand why you feel the way you do about it! I think we all prefer the season that feels best to us, and gentlest to the world around us. But one way or another, if we wait long enough, our favorite seasons roll back around to us!

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  6. Happy Fall Ann. I think we all have an idea of what we would like our year to be like and some even get their wish. But, many do not. What matters is that we are grateful for small mercies and able to be with those we love. The rest takes care of itself. Wishing you and your hubby all the best in the coming year. Allan

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  7. Love the way you always find the silver linings Ann! You’re right, the joy really is in the small blessings, all the changes along the way are simply a way for us to notice and appreciate what’s in our world. I can see this even on our road trip, how the temperatures are falling the further south we go, how the landscape changes. Maybe we just need to take a cue from nature and simply embrace it and go with the flow. Happy times ahead to you both. 🙏

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    • You are always so good at taking life lessons from nature, and then sharing with the rest of us! And thank you for that, because it is a very wise way of looking at things, particularly in this crazy pandemic. Thanks so much for your good wishes….very much appreciated!

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  8. Time doesn’t seem to be passing at a normal pace. Comparing this summer and fall to 2020, I do feel grateful that I can be with friends and family again. Speaking of, let’s plan on a get together.

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    • Yes, I keep thinking it’s much later than it is, just based on the sunset. One way I know for sure it is Fall is the shorter days. But they aren’t so bad, once I get used to it. Thanks for your comment, Margy!

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  9. I am not surprised that you feel cheated. The oncoming season may compensate that with a flourish of colours. Nature always tries to compensate in ways that we don’t understand or appreciate at times as we don’t have the bird’s eye view of the whole.

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    • Yes, for my husband and I, it really is a time to look at the bigger picture. What we missed out on will pale by comparison to what we receive as we move on….we just need to keep our focus on the horizon, and not the past. Thanks for your comment…they are always “right on target!”

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  10. This was good for me to read tonight, but not because of the seasons changing. Sometimes I struggle with being far away from our extended families, and now our two children who have moved away. What if we had done this or gone there? But this comment that you wrote is so good: “Clinging to our ideas of “what should have been” doesn’t get us anywhere we want to be, and it actually makes it harder to move into the future with any hope or sense of purpose.” Thank you, Ann, for timely words that spoke to my heart tonight,

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    • I’m so glad they spoke to you, Patty! I think it is so easy to get caught up in reliving the past, and thinking, “what if things have been different?” But we can’t change what has been (and honestly, maybe things wouldn’t even be better if we could), yet we sure can work hard to shape our future. And that, I think, is where we should devote our energies. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. I had to dig out a long sleeve shirt this last weekend! Fall is creeping up on me too. But for geocaching, fall is the best time of the year – the air is cooler, the poison ivy has died back, the bugs are slowing down or have already disappeared… I’m going to make a turkey next week because I have 2 and we need to make room in the freezer!

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  12. I related to what you wrote completely, Ann. You have a way of articulating what so many people feel. I don’t feel like summer held “carefree” moments. I think that’s something so many of us long for. It went by and didn’t wait for us.
    I’m going to try to “jump in” and appreciate fall. It’s just difficult to let go of what I’ve missed. Thank you for sharing some lovely ideas for ways to enjoy this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it can be very hard to let go of what we’ve missed for sure. And when I have something hard to do, I just do it one step at a time. First I bought a pumpkin and put it by the front porch. Then I got our my Fall decorations. Then I got out some Fall clothes that I like and put away some of my Summer clothes–and step by step, I’ve come to accept that Fall is here and beginning to enjoy it! I hope that happens for you too!

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  13. Ann, I see you and hubby on a tropical beach, warm Carribbean breezes, sipping a pina colada while the steel drum band echoes in the background. It’s called a winter vacay! And there are tons of good deals out there. Get out there and make it happen.
    Hope you hubby is feeling well.
    We had a decent summer. But I’m glad it’s over. I’m enjoying the cooler weather. And dreaming of Key West Florida. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m going to miss seeing the leaves of every kind, but our summer was half rain and all humid — I truly hope that’s not the shape of things to come, only partly because I’m tired of fuzzy green bread! I’m more Fall-friendly than usual. The missed-out way you feel is the way I (we all, likely) felt in the summer of 2020, but I’ll be hoping you’ll get a marvelous summer in 2022 — and that you both/all get to enjoy it. Meanwhile, that pie looks like a decent breakfast — and yes, please, let the turkeying begin!

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  15. Like you Ann, in many ways this year has blasted by and the health issues of my husband have kept me in a day by day state of mind. But today October arrived and the last quarter of the year is finally here and for me it signifies, the hardest is behind us. As you say (paraphrasing) clinging to the past or how we thought things should have been this year, is fruitless. “It” happened (or is happening) and like you, I sure don’t want to relive it, so onward we go, steadfast (my word for the year) in our belief that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ NIV. This verse has been my mantra for the year. I agree with Cindi, plan that vacation to a sunny and warm place this winter! Blessings!

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    • I’m so glad that the worst is in the past for you and your husband! (And sometimes the oncologist will let you stop the chemo a bit before it’s scheduled to stop if they think the side effects are getting too bad. The latest thinking is that the first three months of chemo are basically what gets the job done, anything beyond that is just extra.)
      And that is an excellent mantra! Remembering that God is always with us, no matter how bad our problems are, makes coping so much easier. Cling to that verse!

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      • Interesting and thanks for that info! I did not know that. Danny has three more treatments and we won’t see the oncologist the next treatment (every other time now). After the last treatment he has a CT Scan because his cancer markers are giving inconsistent readings. On top of that Danny’s brother just had a scan and his cancer is back. 😞 His family is riddled with cancer. I love that verse! Thanks for the encouragement, Ann. Hope you take time to plan a fun vacation. ❤️

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  16. I cling on to the idea of summer as well, Ann. As gorgeous as September and October is here in New England, I only half enjoy it, because I’m always in mourning for the summer. This past summer, here, was a short one, since July was rain almost every day. And then HOT and HUMID. But I’ll take that over winter any day. Sigh. But as you say, time doesn’t slow down for us, so we need to grab each day and enjoy it, despite the season and how fast a season left us. I waited waited waited but now pumpkins are on our stoop, mums are in our planters, and the house is decorated with my Fall tchotchkes. 🙂 Pumpkin pie? Maybe in a week or so. Hope you and your guy have a wonderful October. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is so hard to embrace Fall when we’re still waiting for Summer to begin, isn’t it? But some years, for whatever reason, we just don’t get to enjoy our Summer. I’m glad you’re getting into the spirit of Fall, and I can only say that I’m officially hoping that Winter passes by even more quickly than Summer did… In my opinion, the ideal Winter season would be exactly three weeks. That’s plenty of time to enjoy the snow!

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  17. To everything there is a season. The dialed down pandemic life has me turning to the changing seasons as something to anticipate. This morning, the sky lit up in shades of pink and gold warming the golden orange leaves outside the windows. Glorious. Life unfolds and nature cycles and the only thing I can do is keep moving forward and look for those moments that spark gratitude and learn from the tribulations. Some days are diamond; some not so much.

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    • You’re right. We just need to accept the seasons of our lives as well as the changing seasons we live in. Some days are certainly better than others, but every day has some good in it. Thanks so much for your comment!

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    • Thanks, Svet! It’s actually quite easy to make…I just buy a can of Libby’s pumpkin and follow the directions for pie on the label. Although I double the spices, because the recipe’s amount makes it a little too bland for my taste.

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  18. I so loved this post!!! It is hard to let go of summer, but autumn promises its own gifts. I always look at fall in that back to school way…a time to embrace change and learn new things. The older I get, the more I see that I need to be very creative about embracing change. I hope autumn will be a breath of fresh air for us all. That pie looks amazing! 🙂

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    • I think learning not to resist change is something that we acquire as we age. I know I’m learning that even an unwelcome change can sometimes bring unexpected gifts. And Fall has many good points, I just needed to be intentional about letting of the feeling that I was somehow “cheated” out of my Summer. My husband recovered from his surgery and cancer, and that should be more than enough to satisfy me!

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      • Thank God that he is well! That is a blessing beyond a hundred summers…:) And next summer may be the best one yet….we never know. 🙂 Here’s to celebrating all the seasons until then…may a summertime glow fill your heart. Knowing you, that won’t be hard!!! 🙂

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  19. An honest take on life. No sugarcoating, just the truth, plain and simple. But you ended on a note of hope, Ann, and I think that can truly help us to move on when we need to. I will pray that you have an autumn and a winter that makes up for summer that left too soon. It’s been a hard year; may the year end gently and sweetly for you.

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    • Thank you so much, Caitlynne! I’m learning to hope again and to let go of the more negative emotions of the past few months. I hope that things are soon looking up for you as well, and in the meantime, you remain firmly in my prayers.

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  20. Indeed, it has been a very difficult year. And, you are right, unfortunately time doesn’t stop for anything, even a difficult season. We have no choice but to move forward, and like you said, it’s up to us how we do so. I’m trying to be more thankful and joyful despite circumstances. Thank you for the reminder! I hope your Fall season is wonderful, Ann!

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  21. Here’s hoping Fall *does* make up for your bum Summer, Ann. Personally, I love Fall, and just looking at that picture of a pumpkin pie, I can practically smell the deliciousness! I bought my pie spices just yesterday, so I’m ready any time.

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    • I think it is a universal things. I almost didn’t write about this, figuring it was just me whining, but then I realized that on a broader sense, all of us have experienced this sort of regret and unwillingness to move forward. Thanks for letting me know the post spoke to you!

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  22. You put me in the mood for some pumpkin pie, Ann. It’s been a strange 18+ months and it looks like things are going to persist for a while. I wonder if we’ll get used to living with covid and weather weirdness and horrible politics. Moving forward and grabbing all the beauty and kindness we can is a great choice. Happy Autumn.

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  23. What a “timely” post, Ann! I feel it all and I have been thinking about the pumpkin pie also. I planned a post about time soon…seems we are thinking along the same lines. The heat and humidity broke here recently. On a little walk yesterday I actually felt “cool” wind! For me that is fine for a day or two, but I really love it hot and humid! Here’s to Fall…the season of letting go. Hope you have a great week! ❤

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    • I do love summer, even when it is too hot and humid for my taste. Fall is lovely, and I want to enjoy it, but I can’t help but realize that Winter is coming, and that’s my least favorite season of the year. Still, all we can do is enjoy what we have and look to the future with hope. Thank you so much for your comment, Lorrie!

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  24. I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I am so ready!! I feel like we made it through without the horrific heat, the blazing fires, and the BAD air quality. It is like I hold my breath all summer, but waiting for it to end. And the first day I get to turn off my fan and I don’t just sweat because I am alive I am soooo happy. Summer can go and never come back and I would be a happy girl. And . . . we just had some rain! I am sorry you feel cheated because you didn’t get your summer trip in. Hopefully . . . because as you said there is nothing we can do out the changing of the season . . . you will have a nice winter. And when summer rolls around again you can dance and I can pout!

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    • I don’t blame you for being ready, with the Summer you had! Ours was much nicer weather, and yeah, personally, it was sort of a wash out because my husband was either in the hospital or recovering from surgery for most of it. But I have hopes that we’ll have a nice Winter, and a good Summer next year. I hope you do too!

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