I awoke one morning this past weekend to my husband crying out “NO!” from downstairs.
This is not a normal thing to have occur for two reasons. First and foremost, he is rarely up before me. Though he is an early riser, I am usually up for some measure of time before him in order to have coffee at least brewing before I have to speak to anyone. Second, he is typically pretty quiet first thing, as he is mentally preparing for his day ahead.
Therefore, I knew that this “thing” had to be traumatic. I knew that there had to have been something catastrophic happen for him to be upset so early. In the millisecond before I reacted, I couldn’t fathom what it could have been.
I leapt from bed to assist him with whatever tragedy had befallen before the sun had risen, still trying to figure out what could have freaked him out so badly. My leaping had less to do with me being a good wife and more to do with being scared, myself, but still, I was immediately out of bed.
I flew around the bed, stubbing my toe on the bedpost on my way out of the room. I may have cried out as well, and I definitely was slowed down by my hobbling, so I called down the stairs to him, “I’m coming! What’s wrong?”
He didn’t reply, but I found him seated in the kitchen, head in hands. I could tell that he was truly troubled. Gingerly, I went over to him and put my hands on his face, turning it up so that he was required to look at me.
“What is it?” I asked, softly.
“It frosted,” he said sadly.
“It frosted?” I repeated his words incredulously. Was it possible that he was this distraught – and that I had a swollen, purple toe – because of a change in the weather?
It was true on both counts.
When I looked out the window, I could see in the early dawn light that there was, indeed, a white glaze on windshields, metal roofs and grass, alike. Having not been disturbed by anything, it looked as if an icy paintbrush had been swiped across our entire yard. It was actually rather beautiful. (Not that I’d dare say that aloud to my distressed spouse.)
“It is fall,” I managed to choke out, feeling a throbbing in my toe and my temples. “It is to be expected.”
“I’m never ready for winter,” he replied. “And when summer ends, winter begins.”
His job as a farmer is made very challenging by shorter days and colder temperatures. The same amount of work needs to be done in fewer daylight hours, and things like watering the animals can be downright tricky when temperatures fall. Not to mention, we all struggle with becoming cooped indoors.
But as it does every year, the world turns, the weather changes, and we survive. I’m sure we will do so this year, as well. Unless, of course, I get called out of bed in a similarly traumatic fashion again.
I can’t make any promises about what will happen then.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at email@example.com.