Topic: "Autumnal Observances"(2)
All of a sudden Frodo awakes hoping that the first frost did not strike the Shire; semi-tropical plants drop leaves and die if that happens. Relief turns to purpose and Frodo begins to organize the pots into which the hibiscus and scheffelera, planted outside during the warm seasons, are to be transferred. Above, Frodo clearly observes the older squirrels patching the tree-top nests to off-set the coming winter winds, while the first-year "dumb ones" make a feast of the blazing red seed of the dogwoods. Beau Neau is on patrol all about the grounds as small creatures gather the fall harvest into cavernous shelters. Mick (the Wonder Dog), Fiona, and Georgia are taking advantage of patches of soothing sunlight. There seems to be a sense of urgency encompassing all who share the Shire.
Despite the scientific evidence that all of Middle Earth grows warmer, Frodo knows that we are due for an onslaught of winter weather. A big snow, and gale-like winds from the West have not disappeared from the weather charts for the remainder of the milennium. The absence of tropical storms during the warm seasons portend an increase in the severity of the cold days ahead.
After the great storm of 1993, Frodo bought a snow shovel and hung it in his garage adjacent to his motorcar. The cobwebs that cover it need to be dusted away. A kerosene heater, with fresh kerosene, and a battery-powered TV-radio will receive tune-ups and testing. The battery in the laptop will be replaced. Vulnerable limbs will be trimmed back to prevent ice accumulation over outside wiring.
A little cool weather and Frodo becomes the personification of "the Energizer Bunny." In all likelihood, the Shire will experience another mild winter, and little use will be made of any of Frodo's frenzied preparations. There is, however, this acute sense of foreboding.
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