Thankful to be home again, in Edmonds

By Joanne Peterson | Oct 31, 2013

It was past 5 p.m. when I left my computer this afternoon, put on shoes, grabbed a jacket and headed outdoors to sample the autumn wind that was creating blustery howls past my window. The exaggerated moan of the wind veering around the corner of my building isn’t a good gauge of wind velocity. Night or day, though, I enjoy the noise. Unless it’s actually stormy out, it sounds more playful than threatening.

Today, losing interest in the work I needed to finish in my office, I welcomed the possibility of fresh air, fresh energy.  I walked through multi-colored leaves littering sidewalks, enjoying their gold, yellow and brown fall colors—shades my mother favored and often wore. Sure enough, the breeze was light, but strong enough to blow more leaves off trees, sending colorful drifts across lawns and streets.

It felt good to walk quickly uphill, past the condos lining Fifth Avenue, then east through adjacent neighborhoods, alert to the vine maples turning red--and the sudden jolt of a bright pink rhododendron.

Rhododendron? Surely not, when it’s nearly November. But, yes. It was a great reminder that nature always holds surprises, though sometimes I forget to pay attention.

My mother loved the fall, with its crispness and color, chrysanthemums and Halloween pumpkins. On a golden October day, she’d pull her old Green Thumb garden gloves onto her small hands one last time for the season and clean out the flowerbeds prior to the wet winter. I’m reminded that it makes me happy that many of her pleasures became my pleasures, too.

Mom enjoyed being outside any time of the year and liked to go for walks.  It seemed she couldn’t take a walk in autumn without coming home with a selection of seed pods and dried-up stalks of wild grasses. They would end up in a vase on top of the console TV in the living room.

She definitely had a knack for creating arrangements out of past-their-prime roadside plants. My dad would tease her, “Oh, honey, another weed bouquet?” (My mother could have made a bouquet out of carrot tops, and my dad would have admired it. I cannot recall her creating anything he did not admire. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that they had a fine marriage.)

This afternoon, I walked through neighborhoods I no doubt walked through in my youth, though the neighborhoods have changed, of course. I envisioned the people living in the houses I passed, imagining them enjoying this community and the opportunities they find here.

Have they lived in Edmonds long? Are they newcomers? Will they raise a family here? Are they grandparents whose grandchildren visit in the summer? Did they move away and return--as I did?

The late afternoon breeze turned chilly. Heading back toward Fifth Avenue, I thought—as I often do--how glad I am that I came home again to Edmonds.

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