Out of Season
It’s November. Yes, I know. In fact, it’s quite nearly December. Since about mid-September, when stores started decorating for Christmas, everywhere I look there are pumpkins, ghouls, cornucopias, Christmas trees, and other assorted Fall/Winter holiday things. All the stores are gearing up for their big sales season, and all the puzzlers are dutifully putting together Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other holiday puzzles. So much orange! So much white (snow)!
Me? I’m built differently. Sure, I have a pile of snowy Santa puzzles to do in December. What serious puzzler doesn’t? But for now I’m working through a more summery batch of jigsaws. Everyone else has their parka at the ready, their cocoa in a mug, and their rolls of assorted gift wrap out of the hall closet, but I still have my t-shirts front and center, and my flip-flops on my feet. While they’re taking holiday photos and composing a family newsletter, I’m holding onto the last bits of Summer, wondering how much time I have before the cold & rain set in.
My recent puzzles show exactly where my mind has been, despite the turning of the calendar pages. A taste of Spring, some full-on Summer, and a sunset, this last one symbolically marking the end of summer fun.
First up is Field Song. Springtime is flowers, birds, sunshine (a bit of rain), and… a mailbox? This 2000 piece beauty from Cobble Hill kicked off my effort to hold off Fall, if only for a while. The puzzle, like many from this manufacturer, is technically a random cut. While the pieces do vary in size and alignment, they don’t have the crazy cuts you’ll see from some makers. I like the way they do this - it feels like a grid cut but works like a random. I started with the sky here, as I usually do, then got the birds in place. The last bits were the grass and flowers, which were definitely the most challenging.
With Spring in the rear view, next up is Summer. There are countless puzzles available showing ocean shores, with gentle waves, tropical looking trees, and a beautiful sunrise or sunset. The one I chose is called, simply, Summertime. The puzzle is from Buffalo Games, and was created by artist Kim Norlien. While mine was a 1000 piece solve, the company also makes a 500 piece version, featured at the link above. The image of the puzzle below has the link to the 1000 piece version. Nothing too difficult here; this is one to enjoy, not struggle with.
Finally, with Summer drawing to a close, it’s time to watch the sun go down one last time before Fall. Sundown Poppies, from Heye, serves as this year’s exit from the season. At 1000 pieces it isn’t particularly difficult, though the muted colors in the greens and reds might put some strain on your eyes. This one was done quickly, with help from my sister who I was visiting. It’s nice having family that understands my puzzling addiction; folks who don’t roll their eyes when I bring a puzzle to their house, and instead will sit and help solve it. I think puzzling might even be contagious, as she has been doing more and more on her own, as well as helping me with the occasional solve.
And now, finally, at the end of November, I’m ready to call it quits on Summer. I don’t like to let it go but, when I think about it, Fall isn’t really that bad. Those of us living where Daylight Savings Time is observed have picked up an extra hour, and I happen to live in a desert, where rain is infrequent and the snow we see is usually gone by mid-day. Also, do I really care if it’s cold? I have a fireplace, a big table, and dozens of puzzles to choose from.
Phil (aka Puzzle Buster)