The Chrysanthemum Flowers

Oct 13–17, Amherst, MA USA
Seasonal Memoir Entry #32

Miscellany

I picked up some gloves for hiking in cool weather from TJ Maxx, and I later noticed a power icon on each fingertip. The packaging then told me that I could wear the gloves and manipulate a smartphone screen. It left me wondering if this in fact was a good thing for humanity.

As we continue to support Larry and the construction of his prefab sugar shack, we keep coming up against the limits of physics, which sets him back. Two such hurdles met us this week: 1. How to position the piece of heavy roofing structure while at the same time keeping one’s balance on the ladder. 2. How to put screws in the said roofing structure, once it’s in position, when the screws need to come from the outside of the structure (the roof’s flashing prevents a ladder’s use.) Thankfully, Ethan was able to eventually come over and use his professional tools and skills to tackle the challenges. We’ve got until March to get it done, anyways. Ha.

Within a short view of the sugar shack are Lola’s extensive gardens. In the summer, the grounds are so resplendent with color that it’s almost overkill. But in late autumn, the trees have dropped their fruit, leaves are turning yellow, orange, and red (not to mention brown), and most of the flowers and vegetables are long gone, so what remains — some flowers, kale, peppers, and other little gardening treasures — provides the lucky beholder an angle of vision of a garden that really pops. From the first shoots in the potting shed in late winter, to the boost warm spring weather and fertilizer provide, to the summer color explosion, to the muting effects of the Fall, and finally to the bleakness of early winter, all of it is carefully orchestrated for our culinary and visional delights. Rosa is truly a marvel.

It’s been a few weeks of getting poked with needles, and while I generally don’t mind them, it’s getting a little ridiculous: Pfizer booster vaccine, Flu shot, Novocain from the endodontist, and Cortisone in the left knee. Is this a portent of moving north of 50 years old?

It feels so nice to have a beer (or two) in the early evening, to unwind or to just ideate on life, and while I feel little to no effects of it by the time I get to bed, I nevertheless wake up feeling less rested than if I had had nothing to drink. Will science in my lifetime figure out how to solve this problem with alcohol? Is that too much to ask? Perhaps scientists have better things to work on… lol.

I need to check my privilege. I’m writing this on a United flight, and there’s a middle aged couple a few rows from me who were very appreciative that the flight attendant found some small bottles of champagne so they could celebrate the start of their honeymoon. Here I am flying to Colorado to see and support our daughter through the challenges of an underwhelming university experience, brought on mostly by the pandemic’s lingering influence. I can afford to do this (time and money), and to stay without cost in our new condo, and to also see my mother again (who just visited us in Mass) and my sister and her family. I can spoil all of them if I want to. I am truly blessed.

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Paul Richards

Having some fun blogging, taking the writing seriously, but not myself.