Thanks to my friend Stew, I’ve just discovered a business called Pollen Arts (two links there, FB and their Etsy shop). As you will discover when you visit those links — and you should! — you’ll find that Peter and Juwels pour truly amazing pure-beeswax candles from molds based on antique bottles, everything from ink bottles and Mason jars to liquor jugs. Very cool stuff.
Anyway, now that we’re past the autumnal equinox and officially into fall, p&j do giveaways on the first Friday of the month. Well, they leave the “window” open until midnight Sunday, but it starts on Friday. And their current contest query? (Ooohh, how audio-ly alliterative of me! Auditorially? I dunno, something sound-related, anyway…)
“we thought a nice theme to ask people to comment on some of their favorite things about this season ; ) Apple picking, that extra wool blanket, crunchy red and orange leaves … “
And I thought about it. It’s kind of an odd thing for me to consider since I live in the San Fernando Valley and while I know SoCal does have seasons, they’re rather more subtle that what you get in cooler climes, leaves a riot of red and gold and snow on the ground and such.
I think I found it, though, what I like about fall. Then I realized it was going to tie into things I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of years and…see what you’ve done now, p&j? You made me BLOG! 😀 So…here we go.
What do I like most about autumn? I was going to say holiday baking, cookies and cookies and cookies for days on end, pumpkin bread, banana bread, almond tea bread, and my mom, when she was still here, went through a phase where she made her own mincemeat — REAL mincemeat, mind you — to then turn around and make mince pies.
They were AWESOME. They were PIES, man.
But I haven’t baked in years, not like that, anyhow. Once I left Corporate America, I didn’t have a built-in consumption mechanism for all the cookies I wanted to make, and more recently, there’ve been other things in the way. Still, there is something I love about fall.
We don’t get nearly enough of it here in general, and it’s more a winter thing than an autumn thing anyway, winter rainy season usually being November into maybe March. But autumn opens the door, and I wait for the rainclouds to accept the invitation and come visit for a while. Of course, if I have my druthers in the matter — and when do any of us reliably get our druthers in matters of Mother Nature? — it rains on weekends, or in the evenings when I’m home from work, or even during the work day, but not when I have to stand outside waiting for my bus. 😉 Though I admit that being out in the rain is sometimes a very pleasurable thing. When it rains, though…
Rain is as much about sound for me as anything else. For years, rain to me was the first soft plinks and spatters on the metal cap of the heater exhaust vent on the roof. I assume that’s what it was, anyway, it was in the right place to be connected to the wall heater, which is what we had because the house was built in the late 1940s and had 8-inch-thick steel-reinforced concrete block walls — redoing the heating system seemed like a nightmare in the making, at least when the house was mine instead of ours, Mom’s and mine. So yes, first there’d be one soft plink, maybe a few if the rain was already working into something major, and then I’d hear it on the patio roof.
The year I went to Honolulu on vacation, I came home to discover Mom had been talking to some construction and painting company about having the house texture-coated. And the first words out of my mouth — in front of the salesman who was there to finalize the deal and needed both our signatures because we were both on the deed by then — my first words were, “But I thought you liked the pattern of the block walls.”
“I do,” Mom said.
“Well, if you put that stuff on the walls, it’ll look like stucco and you won’t have the pattern anymore.” And it looked just like stucco, from the photos in the brochures, and I personally am no big fan of stucco anyway, and wasn’t then either, plus it was the kind of stuff where once you put it on the surface you’d have to either sandblast it off or use a chisel or something. So I talked her out of it and into a paint job instead.
Salesman was pissed because I’d just cut his profits by 60 percent. I didn’t much care. But the other part of the project was to take down the existing patio cover, which was ancient corrugated steel and only covered a third of the patio anyway, and replace it with a patio roof that actually covered the whole patio. Extruded aluminum, painted or powder-coated or something. That was fine by me. Even though they did a miserable installation job, but that would be a different blog.
This one’s about the fact that the sound of the rain on that patio roof is how I’m likely to think of autumn and winter, of rain in general, for the rest of my life. The number of times I went to sleep with the sound of rain playing music on that roof, or woke up to it and wanted to roll right over and go back to sleep to the sound of it…there was a comfort to it, a sense that things were right because that sound was there, in the background maybe, but there, and I loved it.
One of the oddest things about losing the house was having to get used to new sounds. There were a few days and nights of rain early on when I was at the shelter, but it didn’t sound right to me, muffled and bland, lifeless. And overriding it was the metro train, which runs right past the shelter, every 20 minutes or so at the peak, every half hour or maybe 40 minutes in the late evenings. Even with the alien sound of the rain, I might fall asleep, but those damned trains — took weeks to get used to them to the point where I didn’t feel I just lay there waiting for the next one instead of trying to sleep.
Then, when I moved out of the shelter, just about this time last year, there was another new place with its own sounds, and this time, yes, new sounds of rain. The room I was renting was in a townhome that backed up onto a sort of mini-canyon, very woodsy with a walking/hiking trail through it. The trees were mostly pine, some conifer with very long needles, anyway, and I want to say there were also eucalyptus in the development, although maybe not a lot. I don’t remember being overwhelmed by the smell, and I would have been, I’m pretty sure, so a few, not many.
But new sounds in the rain. Drumming on a shake roof, or maybe shingles — I honestly can’t remember now. Puddles in the dirt, rivulets on the asphalt of the driveways and parking areas. It sounded weird to me, not right, although better than at the shelter because there was a bit more nature around, it wasn’t all concrete. But there wasn’t that much nature around at my house, so that isn’t all it was.
And now I’m in a different place, and while there was a bit of rain after I moved here, there hasn’t been enough yet for me to get a good handle on the sounds. It’ll be okay, of course, but…I’m hoping for good sounds.
For rain on the roof to mean home again. I think it will.