News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

December 13, 2010

It’s nearly Christmastime …

TERRE HAUTE — The falling snow I watched as I sat in my cabin and looked down into the woods last week caught us all by surprise. It wasn’t so much that it snowed — after all, it is December and Indiana — but we had more than 7 inches of it up my way, and no one was expecting that at all. Why, the white stuff piled itself so high on the wooden rail that runs in front of my big window that I had to slip on my boots to head out and brush it away, just so I could watch my favorite spot down the hill. I hate to miss out when the turkeys or the deer come to visit.

I spent my morning scraping paths here and there so we could get around our place, and also in facing the realization that I am not nearly as ready for winter and Christmas as I thought; they’ve caught me by surprise. For a few weeks now, I have been almost smug in the knowledge that my yard has been cleaned, that my gutters are leaf-free, and that every single flower pot I have is empty and turned upside down in the barn. I even have my garden hoses drained and hanging on a barn wall, a good thing, considering it dropped into single digits for most of a week, which makes handling hoses as fun as wrestling gators.

Unfortunately, I also realized that I have a mower yet to service and clean, and that the new set of truck tires I promised myself to get before the first snowfall is still a figment of my imagination. As of writing this, I have yet to get our outdoor Christmas lights up, and I don’t want to think about getting cards ready to mail, even though I realize that the opportunity to do so is slipping away. I haven’t covered the lawn furniture on our deck yet, and I have noticed that the grasshopper ornament we have near our front door looks a little out of place with snow piled on it — fitting, I guess since it was the grasshopper in the old fable who dallied and put up nothing for winter while his industrious ant-neighbor was working his six legs to nubbins.

Winter does supply us with surprises.

We never expect it to be as cold as it is when we walk out on an early winter morning still wearing the light jacket we’ve gotten used to in the fall; we spend time searching for our gloves and scarves and long johns, perhaps because we’re still in a sort of denial that we’ll need such things so soon.

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