JD Allinder


In Posts on November 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm

TGIFThank God it’s fall. Literally. Everything is better in the fall. I have more energy, am less prone to melancholy, and just feel more comfortable in my skin. Many people, especially in Michigan where the average number of clear days per month in the fall is three, suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. I suffer from reverse SAD. It’s the blinding sun and rising mercury of late spring and summer that makes me want to pull the covers over my head. Most people think I’m crazy, so I don’t talk about it much, but I know I’m not alone. I think most members of my family, even though they all live in the South, prefer cooler weather, and I feel pretty sure there’s a genetic component at work. (We’re all fair skinned and have to avoid the sun.) There’s also a cultural component. Kids don’t mind the cold, and they love playing in the snow. Adults on the other hand do nothing but complain when the temperature dips below 50. (Adults even complain about the wind, which I don’t understand at all. How can someone not like wind?) As they age, kids generally adopt their parents’ views and start hating all weather that dares vary from some bizarre South of the Border ideal. When I was teaching elementary school, I made sure to get outside with my students every day, and I would frequently remind them to “Never stop loving the cold.”

Though it seems most people in southeast Michigan are afraid of weather, there are exceptions. There’s a burgeoning Northern European population sprouting in Ann Arbor (presumably around the UofM), and even on the bitterest winter days when I’m out hiking, I run into Swedes, Finns, and Russians popping out of bushes (literally) wearing big grins, rosy cheeks, and offering hearty hellos. My friends who live in Traverse City, Paul and Heather, have a healthy appreciation for cold weather as does (seemingly) everyone else up there. The times I’ve visited in fall and winter, people were outside hiking, skiing, and playing hockey.

Dogs, of course, love the cold. Even old, arthritic house dogs start frisking about this time of year, getting skunked and giving the ever-fattening squirrels the what-for. Miss Jane is no exception. She’s been working overtime hunting everything including mail carriers, bicycles, and garden rakes. We made such great progress over the summer – I guess because she was too hot and tired to be wicked – but the puppy in her has once again reared its beastly head. We’ve certainly had our challenges – like when she completely ignored me and took off chasing deer for two and a half hours – but it’s been good for me. I think I’d gotten complacent. And the wild thing who’s emerged with the shrinking days – sort of a reverse hibernation – has provided me with a loud and clear wake-up call: We haven’t arrived yet.

Prospect ParkI guess the biggest issue with Jane has been her not listening to me on the trail. We’ve been practicing off-leash walking since August, and she’s even worked her way up to two hours of complete liberty on our hikes. Lately, though, she’s taken to ignoring my commands, running off, and generally treating me with disregard. If I get angry, she slinks and sulks and grovels, but then two seconds later she’s right back at the offending behavior. Is it just a continuation of the terrible twos? Are the scents of fall simply more than a hound can handle? (A guy at the dog park told me he let his beagle out to do his business the other night, and the dog stayed gone until six the next morning!) At any rate, I’ve had to ramp up my vigilance to keep Jane safe and satisfied. We’ve had to start re-drilling basic commands (at which she rolls her eyes like a bored teenager, and then I get angry, and then she grovels – it’s a vicious circle), we’re spending more time on lead, and I’m constantly weighing her needs against my comfort level. Our daily exercise has gotten a lot more complicated. We’re not running through the woods with reckless abandon like we both want (and need). So it’s kind of frustrating. But at least it’s fall.

Nude Reclining

  1. The only thing better than the Fall is the Winter…..

  2. Just had an awesome hail storm here in Battle Ground, WA

  3. Well, as much as I love winter, fall is more exciting to me because it’s the prelude to winter. It’s the Friday night of seasons.

    Thanks for your comments, and enjoy the hail.

  4. Poetry. November to March is “living”. The rest is “surviving”.

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