The recently metamorphosed autumnal change of seasons marched swiftly through Los Angeles in the last couple of days –announcing its Presence (or “Presents” to those who abhor the heat and humidity) — as if the break in weather was an amusing escape from reality –like watching the “Grape Stomper” episode from an “I Love Lucy” re-run.

Brisk, bold, fresh and enticing, I whisked out my sweaters, gloves, hot chocolate, thermal t-shirts, plaid wool jackets and any number of accessories I almost sold at a recent garage sale — imagining there would never be a need for cool clothing in L.A. ever again. I actually felt a chill in my apartment when I awoke this morning – curiously never imagining I would ever feel cold here—the non-air conditioned apartment that was so oppressively hot this summer –the fans working overtime to rarely cool even a square foot of air. At the property manager’s suggestion, I had the pilot light turned off in the fireplace and heater when I moved in this past February — so I would not be charged unnecessarily for an unused, invisible boiler just simmering and keeping company by itself –with no where to go and nothing purposeful to heat up.

“Falling back/Falling forward” through the last few months of 2015 (which seem to be trying to crawl towards another abrupt end at the swiftest pace possible), the sadness of another passing November day overwhelmed me. December 31st will mark the 5th anniversary of Ken’s passing. And, because of the recent loss of our 23 yr old beloved parrot Hightop last month, no longer would I enjoy searching for and purchasing the seasonal treats of fresh cranberries—a yearly, autumnal ritual Hightop would look forward to mowing down weekly until the holiday berry-season ended.

I would scout and grab a bag of newly displayed Ocean-Spray cranberries from the market as soon as they arrived on the shelves, excitedly come through the door and announce, “Look what I have for you….”, hurriedly wash them in a colander, dry them on several layers of paper towels — diligently covering them up and rolling them around until they had properly dried because Hightop did not like wet things under her feet)… and then excitedly offer them up as a “Fun-filled activity of distraction” for our beloved, feathered child. She loved to “mark them all” with a territorial beak-bite — as if to claim them all for herself…lest she encounter an intruder parrot who might remotely decide that some of her cranberries were to be shared up with an uninvited ghost of a guest. The ordered rows of cranberries resembled a cemetery of red crosses – or rows of red bowling balls or marbles ready to be steamrolled – little white insides, seeds and trappings unemotionally flung aside and discarded in less than 60 seconds. Game begun. Game over. What’s Next, Mom?

Coming home tonight to an empty apartment, no Diana Krall or Turner Classic Movies playing in the background—no bobbing friend to welcome me home to play and cuddle with has left me, with a winter cold – longing to sleep and be buried under the sheets with a good book and a hot brew of Gold Kili tea.

Fortunately, the other day I happened onto a fabulous book on tape which I have been gratefully enveloped by—Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things”…a sumptuous tale of intrigue, botany, and magical language –read by the superb British actress, Juliet Stevenson.

Glued to seat of my car, hanging on to each audio chapter –page after page filled with stunning, descriptive writing –each CD ending with a page turner – a wondrous, moody winter tale that has filled me with happiness. A lingering distraction I will not want to end.

It’s been so long since I’ve been lost in a book (the library didn’t have the paperback so I opted for the audiobook) – and since I drive so much, it has been nice to have a respite from the beloved country songs of Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean I frequently listen and sing along to.

Most of the books I have been reading of late have been business/soul/feng-shui related…it is the rare treat to be swept away on a journey to a faraway time…filled with facts and happenstances that weave the reader back in time — leaving me in awe wondering just how many books she must have read to gather all the information she meticulously researched (or googled) and the facts she cleverly fastened into a jeweled treasure chest of wordsmithing – some true, some created out of her own superb imagination. The 3×5 index cards must have made an interesting scrapbook bulletin board of decorative, descriptive wallpaper.

Most of you know that Ken’s life was surrounded by books—he always had a book near him, to be transported by, to be comforted with. He ordered many books daily and had voluminous choices before he finished any number of ones he was currently absorbed by. After he lost his sight, it was difficult to adjust to being transported by a book on tape. Fascinated by history, however, today I feel he would have enjoyed listening to “The Signature of All Things”.

So, on this chilly, windy, Wednesday night—with dark clouds looming through crystal-clear skies….I am tucked away in my apartment to prepare for some new holiday shows before going to bed early…I am happily blessed knowing I will look forward to Thursday…when more will be revealed from the ‘Whitaker Family Saga’ and I will relish in the writing of the Divine Ms. Gilbert.

Thank you, Liz Gibert, for magically ushering in my winter (I feel there was no fall) with the coziness of a New England cottage —filled with a roaring fire, some hot tea and a good comfy blanket.

I’ve been getting signs to “slow down”…and nothing helps slow me down better than some fine writing and good pillows for propping myself up (literally and figuratively). It’s definitely harder to do this in a car than in my great, comfortable bed.

Major changes seem to be in the air — flanked and peppered by hot soup, reflective afternoons, assessments and intakes, creative musings and unidentified callings. Winds of change are moving the direction of my soul’s calling — and I am curiously waiting to see what will be revealed and selected for my future.

I always follow the signs. Life’s adventures are usually buried under your shoes and it’s nice to have the choice to decide to go right or to go left. Or to just stand still, look out and take stock. Or to remove your shoes and venture out with the bare souls of your feet and the openness of your soul’s being to breathe fresh air into your lungs and fill the aching in your being with possibility and new discoveries.

And that’s why I love sweater weather … turtleneck sweaters, corduroy pants, thick Thorlo socks & comfy boots, cashmere scarves, leather gloves, Tiger Baum, the smells of Christmas Tree cuttings, cinnamon, Epsom salts, massages, flannel sheets, freshly baked cookies and homemade soup.

These hug my soul and nurture the isolation that I feel in my life at the moment. I am looking forward to finding a seasoned Spirit Traveler to journey forward with. I will be looking for signs. Who knows what the wind will be blowing in my direction. Stay tuned….

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