When I moved to Washington, DC, twenty-three years ago, I had lived all of my life in east central Wisconsin. That first year, we went down to the Mall over Thanksgiving weekend, and I remember vividly the sensation of sitting on one of the benches in a t-shirt. A t-shirt outside in late November! I had never experienced such a thing. After two decades of gradually moving further south, it takes something more than a gray fall day in the upper fifties to excite me as much, but this weekend might do it.
It's early in the morning as I write this. I woke up at dawn, and came out to the living room and lit the fire. Weatherbug tells me it's only 32 degrees -- so far. But I know what's coming. As the sky lightens, I see the fine mist on the lake. The air is perfectly still, so the mist hangs softly above the water and dissipates after rising five or six feet. Soon the sun, which is rising behind me, touches the tips of the trees on the opposite shore. The line of sunlight slowly descends, illuminating the fall colors -- it hasn't been the best year for fall colors that I've seen here, but it's been pretty good, with plenty of deep reds and russets mixed in with the yellows and the patches that are still green. The angle of that morning light makes the colors thick and rich, as if the leaves have truly been gray for the last few hours and are now waking up, and stretching, and responding to the light by letting their warm colors surface.
The sunlight is just touching the lake now and the warmth against the cold water makes the mist swirl in slow circles as it rises. The light sneaks into the cove across the way, waking up one of the great blue herons who flies straight towards me before veering off to the right halfway across the lake. A line of geese cross above in the other direction.
Not a cloud, and none expected for a couple of days. This sun will have a good chance to warm everything up, and by the time Josie and Marian get here after lunch, we should be in the upper sixties (tomorrow will be even a little warmer). We'll take a leisurely boat ride. I'll let Josie steer for a bit, and we'll take time to feed the swans. Miles Davis and John Coltrane will be playing softly in the background.
When we get back, Lynn will start making her traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Marian and I will play with Josephine; I'll read to her for a bit ("what does Charlie Parker play?"), maybe show her how my new guitar sounds.
The holiday gives us a day off, and an excuse for Lynn to put on a fancy meal. I give thanks every day.