Posted by: jility | October 28, 2011

South For the Winter

With the temperature of the water set at 101, I barely noticed the chilly morning fall air as I sat soaking in the hot tub. Dense bursts of steam rose from the swirling water while, above my head, a conveyor belt of cloud sculptures rolled by. Most of the white puffy artwork were abstract by design, but every once in a while, a recognizable shape floated overhead. They soon disappeared as the assembly line moved on bringing new shapes into view.

Early moring hot tub bliss

I love this time of year. I love the fall colors and the crisp air but most of all I love the smell of burning wood; the fuel of choice for heating most Lewis County homes. It reminds me of the peat they burn in Ireland; another incredible smell that, for some strange reason, comforts me.

Growing up in New England spoiled me for all other locations in fall. Most of the indigenous deciduous trees in Washington are alders. They really don’t turn a nice fall color. They just wither and fall off the trees making the scooping of dog poop nearly impossible. With eight dogs, it is like trying to walk through a minefield while eliminating the yard of smelly brown bombs. Those pesky brown alder leaves mingle with the poop to create dangerous, gushy camouflage ground cover.

Nearly nekkid alder trees

But I digress

Lovely little goldfinches, now dressed in their dull winter woollies, flitted from branch to branch in the ancient nearly naked alder tree. I wondered what they find to eat once the seeds are gone but I guess they do fine.

The hot tub jets turned themselves off after twenty minutes but I wasn’t ready to leave my warm water cocoon. As I floated weightlessly, I forgot about my evil foe, gravity, and how, when I am on land, it nails my feet to the ground. Then I glanced down and the sight of my floating blubber jerked me back into reality. CRAP! I closed my eyes and floated off into weightlessness again. With the jets turned off, I enjoyed the sounds of the red winged black birds in the distance.

As much as I love fall, I also hate it. All the things I love about fall also mean that winter is close behind and I HATE WINTER! I hate cold and snow and cold rain and short days and rain and cold and short days and rain and… The Canadian geese have already left and it is time for us too to head south.

On Monday, we will leave for Temecula. I won’t miss the cold damp miserable Northwest winter, spring and early summer but I will definitely miss my son, my incredible grandchildren and their mom. I will also miss my PNW friends but they are only a phone call away.

I look forward to the warm California sun, working our dogs with my friend and agility instructor, Stacy and seeing Mel’s daughter and granddaughter. I love California! I love everything about it, well, except for how hot it gets in the summer and early fall but we are not there then so the shiny never wears off. I love the agility there too. Stacy’s students are so very supportive and nice as are most of the other competitors in the San Diego area.

I will definitely miss the PNW but so look forward to being warm again without having to sit in the hot tub to get there.

Out Temecula resting place for the winter

Helen Grinnell King



  1. Looking forward to seeing you and Mel here 🙂 Safe travels in the global warmer !

  2. YOu are so descriptive, I feel like I am there. Thanks for these.
    I pray you have a safe trip and I know your friends down there are eagerly waiting for you ! YOur agility friends, everyone, can’t wait, and it seems you are happiest there .
    Be well. Theresa

  3. YES! I got that photo from the Riverside zoning site. Thanks for letting us crash at your place for the winter 🙂 Can’t wait to see you!

  4. Hey, nice house 🙂 Pretty current picture too. Can’t wait to see you!

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