Changing seasons has me working on changing my mind

Sitting on my sun-drenched patio outside my kitchen a scant couple of weeks ago, I inadvertently glanced at some deciduous trees at the far end of the parking lot in the apartment complex where I live. I didn’t look away so quickly, though — I was stunned at how incredibly crystal clear the air was.

At the same time, some of the first autumn leaves to fall from the oaks and the dogwood trees scudded the width of the parking lot, encouraged along by a friendly breeze.

The sound of the leaves skimming across the blacktop told me they were bone dry. And then the thought occurred to me that it wouldn’t be long before that, and more, would change.

Change isn’t always my favorite thing, though. I’d been especially enjoying the waning days of the season of sunshine when “the livin’ is easy.” It was the third summer in a row that I’d had significant surgery and other medical issues.

And I’m fervently hoping my next summertime will be one of much easier “livin’. ” But, of course, it’s obvious there’s not much I can do to ensure that.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it,” Mary Engelbreit, graphic artist and writer/illustrator of children’s books, has suggested.

A change to embrace

Now that’s a change I’ll not only entertain, but work on embracing. Is it possible? Certainly. Is success certain? Maybe not, but it’s a lot more likely if I try.

In fact, this particular change might not be too difficult for me. I’ve always liked the rain and snow, wind and storms, even thunder storms. And though I spent some time in Texas, where Christmas sunshine is the rule, I love living in the Pacific Northwest, where each year features all four distinct seasons.

But nearly 72 now, I don’t enjoy driving in inclement weather, and I’m not likely to feel kindly about dealing with being cold or trying to dodge mud puddles and soaking my shoes and socks.

I’ll also miss sitting on my patio, as well as walking in the sun’s rays while gathering a healthy dose of vitamin D, and exercise. But I am willing to — and believe I can — adjust.

I have a cozy apartment with no stairs for ice and snow to freeze — and slip — on. Besides, my standby winter coat has never, ever allowed a drop of rain to soak through. I also never have to shovel snow (someone else gets paid to do that).

I live in small-town Elma, nearly downtown, but where I’m still surrounded by those deciduous trees, as well as some very stately conifers, such as Douglas fir, western hemlock (designated the year after I was born as Washington’s state tree) and others. I’m also within walking distance (should I choose to use foot power) of my church, bank, the Elma Timberland Library, post office, senior center and more.

I’m a survivor

Moreover, I’ve experienced several earthquakes, the famed 1962 Columbus Day Storm and a trio of humongous tempests in early December of 2007 that produced hurricane-strength winds along the Northwest coast and punched out the lights for days around much of Grays Harbor County.

The November of 1946 when I was born, my family was living in a small house along May Creek in Renton, which flooded a few years later, stranding my aunt and uncle and their two children on the other side.

Though I remember the flood, I don’t recall my ride home from the “old” Renton Hospital, of course, as my father maneuvered our old automobile through what a family story has always claimed was a good amount of snow.

In a black and white picture of me, likely taken just a few months later, I’m propped up with blankets in the family rocking chair — outside. And I don’t look any the worse for wear.

So, if I not only survived, but thrived, as a newborn during a heavy snow and, when older, through earthquakes, floods and hurricane-force storms, I think I can make it through the months ahead until warm temperatures return, trees begin leafing out again and flowers start blooming once more.

In fact, now that I think about it, I wouldn’t want to miss my birthday and Thanksgiving, both next month, and Christmas the month after — and whatever follows.

Yes, I can do this. But don’t expect me to schedule any more surgeries!