Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Fall is here but winter is looming | TheUnion.com

Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Fall is here but winter is looming

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Columnist

I can't not fully express how grateful I am for this glorious week of fabulous fall weather.

These past few weeks have been so full of heaviness and sorrow, with both natural and anything but natural tragedies affecting our friends and neighbors from the fires that ravaged the region to the shooting in Las Vegas to the unrest around the world.

I just had to take a moment and be grateful for gorgeous warm sunny days surrounded by the beauty of one of the most vibrant falls in recent memory.

Walking through the changes

About a month ago, a good friend and I began walking in the mornings. She graciously drives to my house several mornings a week and in return I get out of bed far earlier than I prefer.

We spend a little over an hour walking a little over three miles up and down gentle and not so gentle slopes. It serves as a fitness program as well as therapy. We work out personal and our work-related issues. We do our best to solve the problems of the generations.

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When we began, it was late summer, and the trees had not yet begun to turn from lush green to vibrant gold, glowing orange and fiery red as they are today. Watching the progression of the trees along our path has been, dare I say, "magical."

The effects of a recent wind and rain storm that passed through the area over the weekend were clearly visible when we walked by one tree that was reminiscent of a Charlie Brown cartoon.

Bright and heavy with verdure one day, barren with a handful of leaves still hanging on, literally by a stem, the next. As we walk each day, we are witness to the incredible work of Mother Nature and the progression of late summer into early fall.

I braced myself for the inevitable onset of the frigid winter mornings that we knew were just ahead.

Our wardrobe changed from shorts and t-shirts to long pants and long sleeve shirts to layered sweatshirts on top. We went from sweaty to chilly in less than five weeks, and then this week happened.

I came outside in my sweats and hoodie and realized it was already far too warm. The sun was barely breaking above the tree line and I was stripping off my jacket.

Each morning this week has been so incredibly mild. The sun is bright. The sky is blue.

We watched a herd of deer meander across the road, watched squirrels dance into the woods, watched birds fly the expanse of the sky between the trees above us and we have smelled the remnants of skunks who did not quite make the distance.

Yes, it has been nothing short of glorious.

Clinging to warm weather

When I was growing up on the East Coast, a week like this one would occur usually just a few weeks after the academic year had begun (we did not return to school until after Labor Day).

I, along with my classmates (and now I realize, more than a few teachers) would look longingly out the window wishing for more of those dog days of summer that had only recently passed. We called it Indian Summer.

Indian Summer — a respite before the months of cold, wet and (thanks to daylight savings time) dark days ahead. For as long as it lasts, I will be grateful. It's a bit like getting a second wind. Something I appreciate more and more as the years go by.

I am trying very hard not to worry about what I know inevitably lay ahead — winter. Will it be too cold, too wet, too long?

I spend a lot of my time — too much time I am told — in worry.

I worry about pretty much anything you can think of: the health and well-being of my loved ones, financial stability, the state of the world. Recently, I was reminded that worry has no benefit to cost value. There is absolutely no value in worry while it can come at a price.

Worry can cause both mental and physical illness. It changes nothing.

No amount of worry removes sickness, pays the bills, brings food to the hungry or shelter to the homeless. It does not stop fire or flood or hurricane or tornado. It has no effect on those who strive to terrorize.

However, excessive worry can cause major health issues. According to webmd.com, worry or stress can lead to a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart problems, diabetes, headaches, depression and anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, obesity and several other diseases.

Now I can worry about worrying!

One of life's big lessons is learning what we can control and what we cannot. One season will turn to the next and even a week like this one, with that "second wind" of summer, will pass.

Winter is coming. Best to enjoy the ride.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.