And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

You would think that I’ve been writng these things long enough now that having a shower curtain show up as a moment of happiness wouldn’t surprise me. But it does.

In this part of Wisconsin, we really didn’t have fall this year. We had summer, sort of, and then summer wobbled and the temperature dropped overnight and we had a windstorm that blew all the leaves off the trees and bam. We’re in winter. Not only are we in winter, but we’ve had next to no sun. It’s not terribly frigid, there haven’t been any windchill warnings yet, and there’s no snow right now, but it’s still cold and it’s damp. My dog shivers whenever we go out for her to, well, you know. I shiver right along with her.

And the gray. The gray is just impossible. I’m turning lights on during the day. It feels like February. But it’s December. Someone said to me yesterday, “You’re a writer…one of those blue-sky people.” I’m not quite sure what being a writer has to do with blue skies, but I am a blue skies and sunshine person. I drive a convertible for a reason. I don’t have curtains on my floor to ceiling windows for a reason. My car that isn’t a convertible has a sun roof for a reason.

But when it’s this gray…well, none of those things help. They’re just more ways of letting the gray in. Endless gray. Everywhere.

So our shower curtain was dying. Most of the pre-punched holes that hold the liner to the hooks were ripped. It was hard to open, it was hard to close, and it looked terrible. We need an extra long curtain, so our choices aren’t many. This awful gray makes me want to do nothing more than stay at home under a blanket (autumn red or deep, deep brown), so I poked around on the internet, looking at way too many shower curtains that cost way too much, were usually too short, and were incredibly ugly.

And then I saw one. It looked…kinda pretty. It looked kinda like…fall. And I blinked at the price. $16. Really? I read the description about twenty times, trying to find what was wrong with it. But nothing seemed wrong. So…I ordered it and some new hook-things too. What do you call those hooks that go over your shower curtain rod and hold your curtain up?

In the way of things today, it all showed up within 48 hours. I brought the package upstairs, climbed on my ever-present stepstool (life at five foot two is never easy) and hung it. Then I spread it out, climbed down, put the stepstool away, and then turned back.

And gasped. Fall, my missing season, was  in full throttle in my bathroom.

The shower curtain shows a forest in autumn. The leaves are that shade of maple orange that takes the breath away. The quiet of the forest is here too…I have only to shut the door. When I turn on the light, even on a gray day, I can see sunshine. If it’s just after a shower, the air is moist and warm.

“Ooooooooooooh…” I breathed.

I don’t know how many times that day, that first day with the shower curtain, I walked to the bathroom, even though I didn’t need to, well, you know, turned on the light and just gazed. We’ve had it several days now. Even Michael said, “Wow!” when he first saw it.

But the clincher was Olivia. She never uses this bathroom unless she wants a dip in the jetted tub. She came upstairs a few nights ago, a newly purchased fall-scented candle in her hands (Yes, fall. Apples. Cinnamon. Pumpkin. Mmmm.)  I was at my desk, of course, and my office is right next to the bathroom. I heard her when Olivia turned on the light.

“Ooooooooooooh…” she breathed.

Her bath took a little longer that night. She bathed in golden fall sunlight, orange leaves, the scent of apples, the sanctity and sacredness of a forest. When she came out, she was smiling.

I don’t know who made this shower curtain, who designed it, created it, produced it. But whoever it was, bless you. I am delighted to have fall just a few steps away, whether it’s spring, summer or winter outside. Fall, even in all this gray.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.                

My camera’s abilities don’t do it justice. But you get the idea.

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