The Fall Equinox in this part of the world is on September 22. But – smack dab in the middle of Labrador – Fall comes fast!

On Sunday, I woke up and made some breakfast for Isabella and I. I looked outside and the sun was shining through the trees. What a beautiful morning!, I thought. And it was beautiful. And as Amy’s mom awoke and chatted and played with Isabella, I grabbed my morning coffee and stepped out on to the back deck to have a look, take in the morning, and spend a couple minutes making plans for the day in my head.

Before I stepped outside, I was already thinking that I’d love to organize the shed out back. It was a mess. If it wasn’t for the two eternal villians – Money and Time – I’d tear it down and replace it with something not so… falling-down-ish. I still have to finish painting the house foundation, and there are photos that need editing and delivering, and blogs to post, a dog to walk and I should do something with Bella-Button… and as I walked through the door, I thought: My GAWD! It’s FALL!! I can feel it.

I had seen it coming, of course, Fall. I felt it in the wind. The mornings were getting a little chillier, the evenings were getting cold. At the grocery store, you catch pieces of conversation that sound like, “Yes by’. Sure, it’s like Fall ou’der now! Last night was some cold!”

So I’m leaning on the railing of the deck, coffee in hand. I’m looking for signs, visual proof. Dexter is chasing one of our cats out of the yard, the bully, the weeds grass is nice and green, the sun is rising and getting warm – besides a slight chill in the air, nothing unusual. I look towards the shed thinking about what I have to do there, and then I see it! Yellow leaves. Yellow leaves on the trees that tower over the shed. Oh Jesus, one just dropped! And then another!! The leaves are falling, the leaves are falling!

I don’t have a problem with Fall, really. I actually love Fall. If I were surrounded by yellow, orange, red and brown leaves all year round, I wouldn’t mind. It’s beautiful. If I could, I would fly around the world, seeking perpetual Fall. Ya know? And, for me, Fall is special because I actually see September as the start of the year, as I’ve been conditioned to do since I was about 5. It isn’t January, it’s September.

As a kid, you go through the dog days of summer in August, making use of every last second of day light that the summer sun has left to offer, knowing that when early September comes, it’s back to school, being told what to do, home work and curfews, and holding your nose to the grinding stone, so to speak. So while everything around you is dying, at the same time, there is a renewal of sorts that comes with the beginning of the year.

I particularly loved St. John’s in the Fall. It was romantic. When my wife and I lived there, I loved to break out a sweater and a warm coat, maybe even a lite scarf if it was particularly breezy, and hold hands while walking to a coffee shop in the crisp evening air.

The sun is below the horizon, the city lights are on, and we’d walk the streets bundled up and strolling close together, walking through leaves that littered the streets, and maybe kick through a pile that the wind had built up against a curb. Other couples would be doing the same, and there was a great energy present on those evenings. A romantic energy. You get to the coffee shop and peal off your layers under a tungsten glow, sip on a latte or a hot chocolate and share an oat cake (half plane and half chocolate dipped – yum!), and watch through the windows while other couples walked by, holding hands, talking and laughing, their scarves trailing behind them in the wind. Some even wore toques.

We’d then walk back home, fortified against the chill by warm clothes and hot beverages. Before we’d reach the front door of our apartment, our cheeks would be red and we’d have shared more than one kiss or cuddle where we felt the other’s cold nose.

When I think of fall, I also think of the movie “You’ve Got Mail”. I liked when the main characters were email/chatting to each other. Joe Fox (played by Tom Hanks) writes a message to Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) and says, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” Great, isn’t it? Fall reminds me of the smooth feel of a new Hilroy notebook. Not the thicker ones with the wire ringed spine (they were 3 or 5 subject notebooks), but the one with the two staples holding it together. Scriblers some people called them. “Anyone see my scribler!? Where’s my scribler?”

Anyway, I love Fall but it is so intertwined with the oncoming of Winter, that it makes me nervous about the coming cold and snow. But in thinking about it now, I’ve just realized that I’m not really being fair to Fall, am I? I’m letting a future season mess with my ability to enjoy the current season! That’s no way to live!! Heck, I’ve got a lot of good memories of Fall!! Nice memories! Cherished memories! My daughter, Isabella, was born on September 16th!! Sure, that’s close enough to be considered a Fall baby!!

It isn’t Fall I have a problem with! It’s Winter!! The cold hearted whore of all seasons. Well, you won’t get me feeling down this year, Winter! You’re not going to take over my Fall! I’ve got an important birthday party coming up, and I’m going to make some new memories!

So, here’s a couple photos I took to show a little of what it’s like when you hit the dirt road section of the Labrador Highway… which is about half of the 564 Km or so of roadway. More is being paved each day though, thank Jesus.

It can get a little scary at times, especially when there is a truck barreling toward you hauling a sand storm behind it. You know that somewhere up ahead in that dust cloud is another vehicle travelling in the same direction as you are, but you don’t know where they are. Did they slow down? Did they have to stop?

When I become engulfed in dust, I usually slow down and pull over as far as I can without driving off the shoulder, but there’s been a time or two where I did have to stop. It’s either that or drive blind. Problem is, sometimes you don’t know if there’s another vehicle behind you, and you don’t know what they’re doing. Have they slowed down or stopped, or are they just flying through the dust with reckless abandon? Thankfully, the majority of the drivers I’ve come across seem fairly responsible and aware. But I’ve also come across my fair share of those who were not.

Anyway, such is life on the Labrador Highway at this point in time.

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I took Dexter Dog to the beach today. We used to do this all the time before Isabella was born.

I remember when Amy was still pregnant. We had some friends drop by, who also have dogs and had recently added a baby to their family, and they were petting Dexter down and they said something to the effect of, “Soon, they won’t have much time for you anymore, Dexter.”

We talked about that statement recently, because the truth is, they were right – we don’t have much time for him any more, not like before. And as much as I feel bad about it, that’s just how it goes sometimes when you have a baby. I brought the subject up to them and they said they also thought they’d have time, that things wouldn’t change that much. They thought there would be time because, well, they loved their dogs! They would make time for them! But babies are a lot of work and (no offence to dog lovers), a lot more important. The decision to spend time with Isabella or to spend time with Dexter, is a pretty easy one to make. Luckily, Bella loves Dexter so he’s around a lot, but he doesn’t get walked as frequently or get as much one-on-one attention as he did before Bella came along.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love my dog – Dexter is my best friend! Even when I’m exhausted, and there’s a layer of fur on the floor that I just cleaned, and he runs in from outside, full of mud, and gets directly up on the couch, and he just barked one of his enormous barks at the exact same instant the baby finally got to sleep, and I find another deformed baby toy with round puncture holes in it, and he’s eaten our supper before we had a chance to, and I find my underwear in the back yard, and he’s pulling himself on his butt across the carpet, and he’s eaten all the cat food, and he knocks Bella down as he runs by, and poops in the back yard 75 times in a five day period – even after all this, I still love him. It’s just that there are only so many hours in a day, and when I’m awake for the large majority of them, day in and day out, well,… it just gets tiring! A fact of life is that you can’t make time where there is none. So, Dexter, here’s my public apology! Both Amy and I are sorry we can’t spend more time with you. And in time, we promise it will get better.

Yesterday happened to be a day where I did find some time for us to hang out (it was actually my wife who suggested, “Why don’t you and Dexter go to the beach before supper “). Man, was he excited! And it was great! He ran around and chased butterflies (well, he starts off chasing butterflies, but ends up chasing their shadows, nose down and running hard), he dug in the sand, took a pee on some abandoned sand castles (and on some grass, and a log, and in the water and in a fire pit), and ran and jumped in and out of the water like he’d never seen it before…. It was like he was a one year old puppy again! He even chased after a passing Sea Doo!

All in all, a great day with Dexter. I feel like we reconnected, like we rekindled our friendship.

Anyway, below are some photos, all taken with my iPhone.

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Self portrait of Dexter and I.

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Walked upon these three bikes, just laying there. Clothes and shoes still there and all. Wonder if I walked upon some unsuspecting skinny dippers, as I didn’t see anyone the hour or so I was there.

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Super Dexter: As fast as a speeding Sea-doo.

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I got a text last night from my sister in-law asking for a ride out to the launch point for The Great Labrador Canoe Race. Tash and her paddle partner, Sam, won the girls division last year, and they were anxious to try and do it again.

As luck would have it, they won again!

Congrats!

Here’s a few photos from this morning ( photos taken with iPhone).

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The above photo is of the launch point, Muskrat Falls to the right….uh, behind those trees. Nice view, hey?