I love the long days of summer. Sitting on the patio and reading until the mosquitos drive me inside is something I look forward to all year. But summer seems to have suddenly given up on the Pacific Northwest. We started summer strong with record-breaking temperatures. Now the days are getting shorter and clouds fill the skies. The temperatures have been anything but average.
My garden is showing the effects of the sudden shift. It is mid August and it is time to harvest my pumpkins. Last year I had a bumper crop of tomatoes, this year I will be lucky to avoid blight. I did have some luck with cantaloupe and watermelon. I thought I would try them believing the meteorologist’s predictions of a hot summer. This is the plight of gardening in the Northwest. You never know what kind of summer you are going to get.
Except for the humidity, it feels like fall around here. As much as I love summer, fall is a chance to slow down a bit. This summer has been particularly loaded with activity for me. I had an unscheduled trip to Texas to sell my mother’s belongings as well as her house. One month later I hosted a wedding for a friend at my home. The wedding was outdoors and over 300 people showed up. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to. Not long after the wedding was over I agreed to volunteer in eastern Washington helping with the wildfires. These major events have added to the sense of a shortened summer. I look forward to slowing down and doing less.
The shorter fall days make me go inside sooner and even get to bed sooner. It is a kind of grounding. There are so many other things to look forward to with fall. The trees light up the landscape with their colors of gold and red. Crisp evenings mean bringing out the cozy sweaters while sitting on the porch swing sipping on a cup of hot cocoa.
The best part of fall is everything pumpkin, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin treats and even pumpkin soup. The other day I cheated by combining the two seasons. I made an ice cream pumpkin pie. It was amazing.
Then there is the simplest of pleasure. The new fall TV line up will be back soon. I am not much of a TV watcher. I do record a few shows and watch the on the weekends while I do my chores and work on projects. I have so many projects I had to put on the back burner this summer.
Finally, fall bring back-to-back holidays and the chance to visit with friends and family. I am sad summer is ending but I am looking forward to the fall. I need some serious down time and a few pumpkin lattes.
Two weeks ago, I shut the door to my childhood home for the last time. I lived in this home for eighteen years. From four years of age to twenty-two years of age. These were my formative years. People asked me if I would miss it. Some asked if it makes me sad to sell this house? My response was always a definite “No”.
I hated going home to visit my parents after I left. Now I realize why. It was that house. I have not a single happy memory of living in that house. When I walk into the bedroom I spent many years in I remember shoving furniture against the door. My brother would have fits of rage and I was the recipient. If I shut and locked my door he would take the doorknob off. I would shove furniture against the door and hide in my closet. He always managed to find his way in. Rage is a powerful motivator.
The dining room has many memories for me. The wall in the dining room is where my father pinned me against the wall and told me to take it like a man. This was the same room my father told me he was going to kill me and then chased me out the front door. The dining room was where my father threw a heavy object at me when I placed it the wrong way on the dining room table. It was also the place where I took my final beating from my father, the day I finally told him it was going to be me or him and I didn’t care which.
My bedroom was where my father sent me when he could no longer stand the sight of me. It was my refuge. The place I cried, the place I dreamed of my future life somewhere I was safe. The place my secrets were kept from the world.
When I left this house at twenty-two years of age I knew I would never live there again. No matter how bad my life got, I knew without a doubt, I would not come back to live in this house.
So, no, I won’t miss the house or what it represents for me. Shutting the door for the last time was shutting the door on my little house of horrors. The place where I was never safe and no one protected me from evils. The same place mental health issues went ignored and untreated. I am not angry or holding grudges. I am relieved I am finally free to move on and heal. Now when I go back to visit my mother I can stay in a hotel and maybe, just maybe, enjoy my stay.