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Make Our Houses Sound

That’s this season’s urging

     We humans are weather-dependent.
After three parched weeks, rain sprinkled on October 8, then drenched the last morning of the Annapolis Sailboat Show. In the days leading up to that rain, I’d heeded Greenstreet Gardens’ emailed alert to water the garden and the birds. Both needed it.
     Then came the rain. My garden was happy — particularly those neglected ferns. But I fretted lest the rain spoil events over which I grow protective as I shepherd them into our calendar and stories.
     If not rain, would tropical humidity keep people indoors, when Sunday’s calendar called us out to appreciate the Patuxent River, sample wine at Sotterley Plantation’s Riverside Winefest or play dress-up at the Renaissance Festival.
     Now I worry whether rain will sodden diners and dinners at this Thursday’s Dinner in the Fields at Briscoe Farm.
     Over the years, I’ve feared for many outdoors events, and mourned many, too.
Many a day Maryland humidity has gotten under my skin, with this past Sunday reminding me how in July I was planning evacuation to Iceland.
     Yes, we are weather-dependent creatures, I reflect, sweating the small stuff in this year that’s shown us what the weather gods can really do. 
     Some say the world will end in fire
     Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire
     I hold with those who favor fire, wrote the poet Robert Frost.
     So far this year, those tempestuous gods have beset us with water in its liquid rather than crystalline form.
     South of Maryland’s safe, high ground, hurricanes land with the regularity of airplanes descending from their Chesapeake flight pattern into BWI. While we rued ­Harvey’s wrath in Texas, Irma smashed the Caribbean and the Florida Keys … followed by Marie completing the island strike with Puerto Rico. Four hurricanes hitting the U.S. in a season — that’s so far — with three of them landing as Category 4 disasters: That’s what the weather gods can do.
     Rather, some of the weather gods. Weather like we’re getting to know makes sense of the pantheons of many religions. The force that twists hurricanes over sky and onto land is an infinity all its own. So must be the god of fire now scorching our American west: Montana, Oregon, California. Santa Rosa, the nifty yuppie town where my granddaughter Ada was born, burned down this week, as devastated by the fire god as Aguadilla or Utuado Puerto Rico by the rain god.
     These huge happenings dwarf the little bit of drought, the little bit of rain that worries — or blesses — Chesapeake Country. Imagine those enormities as just part of a much bigger picture — this whole planet Earth and its precious climate so nurturing to life — and our weather forecast shrinks pretty small.
     Yet it is ours, as are our seasons, unfolding in an orderly flow of time so opposite to the cataclysms of rain, wind and fire. Temperatures and humidity fluctuate, but day by day autumn passes through its many phases as clearly as does the moon. Here and now in mid-October, green has lost its dominance. Where the hardwood forest still stands, yellow sparkles like gold amid the paling leaves. Corn is umber, soybeans bronze. The year is working out its destiny.
     Weather-dependent creatures that we are, we respond to the seasons. We put away the thing of summer. We carry home pumpkins and mums to signify our harmony with the times. As we no longer grow denser coats of hair to keep us warm, we insulate our homes. We order our chimneys swept — if we haven’t (that was me, last year) waited too long to find a willing sweep.
     Making our houses sound before winter may be the best thing we can do. 
In keeping with the changing seasons is this week’s annual Fall Fix-up Guide.