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Winter is like a predator

September 11, 2009

I love the way winter creeps in gently, softening the blow with a lovely smattering of gold in the cottonwoods, or the cascade of ripe fruit available only as summer exhales. It’s almost perfect right now: bundled-up mornings obsolete and forgotten by 10:00am, if it weren’t for the extraneous clothes the kids have shed and left like a trail for me to find them. And always I find those kids outside in that tiny space between the bike trailer, the two sheds and the fence. That dark, dusty wedge of a spot—coveted by spiders, skunks and Col—where rusty garden trowels go to die and five thousand of Col’s found nails have been lost. As far as I can tell this is where Col gives Rose her assignments like see if you can stick your arms and legs through the holes in the fence, okay Rose? Okay, now eat this piece of bark. And though the whole thing—spiders, snarky brotherly advice, the possibility of tetanus—jiggles my danger radar, there’s also the hopeful little voice that suggests that maybe this time Rose will be able to slide her plump little limbs back out of the fence while I can get some weeds pulled in the carrot bed. I’m always living wild like this.

But all this is to say that sadly, in another two months I won’t be weighing brown recluse spider bites against the pleasure of five uninterrupted minutes to yank bindweed from the soil. Because it is September in Southwest Colorado and winter is lurking like a predator in the aspens. By October, the aspens are burning yellow and that predator is drooling, poised on hind legs, ready to leap. By November the predator is standing on summer, pulling bloody skeins of meat from its neck.

And why do I care? Because we are peering down the tunnel to the start of Inside Time With Children. Can you hear me sighing from my September desk? I’m actually perched at the kitchen table (I don’t have a desk!) gazing out at the cotton-candy cosmos rioting in the garden and the backyard trees stacked with apples and peaches. Really, there is a lot of gorgeous outside time left, but it’s like eating a delicious brownie and realizing you’re just a few bites away from being done.

the glory days

the glory days

creature in the apple tree
creature in the apple tree
10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 9:59 pm

    Fantastic article! You have always been such a great writer and love you going more public with it.
    Lots of love from another writer without a desk.

  2. Judy Hinds permalink
    September 12, 2009 11:38 pm

    Thank you for capturing the poignancy of time fleeting & the beauty to behold.

  3. martne permalink
    September 13, 2009 12:03 am

    Hi, Rachel, it’s Judy cousin, Martha Adams, known as martne here in WordPress Land. I have a personal poetry blog here, too, “Cafe Mocha,” which I’m just getting started. I have two other blogs as well (Blogster/Cafe Latte and Greasy/Cafe Au Lait) which I have had for several years. So glad you are joining the fun! Thanks for inviting me to your blog, I liked your post and will enjoying visiting.
    — martne

  4. Ike permalink
    September 13, 2009 12:55 am

    congratulations on your new venture. Wonderful beginning-great writing-I just read the winter lurking one so far. How exciting. You should really try to see the movie Julia and Julie.

  5. September 13, 2009 4:46 am

    Ha ha, you’re talking about winter creeping in, and I’m still in denial it’s practically Fall (shhh, did I just say the “F” word?)! Great to see more of your writing, look forward to visiting often!!

  6. September 13, 2009 6:41 am

    Hi Rachel,

    A friend sent me your blog and I enjoyed reading it. You are on the other end of the continuum from me. I am about to launch my third and final kid into college. I started my blog when my oldest was heading off to Israel during the war with Lebanon for a semester abroad. It is fun to return to the beginning through your blog; maybe you will enjoy reading mine to see what is to come. I am at

  7. Laura Driver permalink
    September 13, 2009 3:39 pm

    I remember longing to read your witty articles in Outside, gleaming as much wisdom on gardening as I could from you. How exciting to now have another passion to read about from you….your children. Col has grown into an even more beautiful child since we have seen him last, and Rose, the name definately suits her. Rachel, it’s been too long, we must get our families together soon. Congratulations on your new venture. Now others can enjoy the slices of life that you have to share.

  8. Heather Spencer permalink
    September 13, 2009 4:19 pm

    You had me at “as summer exhales”…. Loved this blog Rachel! Thanks.

  9. Karla Sluis permalink
    September 14, 2009 2:58 pm

    “I’m always living wild like this.”

    True that.

    Actually, it’s more like always living in the moment. That’s the gift of parenthood. As they get older and brain space is freed up to plan/obsess/worry, you have to re-cultivate that Zen state.

    Nice blog, Rachel. You have a very relaxed, fluid, detail-rich style. Between this and the Herald column, you are working hard to speak your truth.


  10. Ike permalink
    September 14, 2009 3:21 pm

    Looking forward to more of your stories and great dialogue. Going back in time and developing a serial story would be very interesting to parents and families of preemies -I think

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