Chestnuts roasting, yellow flowers blooming, sandals, winter coats, cold ale, warm chili…this has been fall for us here in Maryland. You guessed it, and can probably even relate; it’s been a total mind-bender. One thing I’ve loved about living here, until this year, in fact, has been the cool, crisp consistency of fall. It has beaten 75-80 degree fall weather in Georgia by 1,000 miles. For me, at least.
I want to feel the chill brewing before the first fall of snow. I want the giddiness of needle-woven hats in the morning before they become annoying and itchy from too much wear. To feel some enjoyment that I need thick socks before it’s January 29, and I can’t find a clean pair anywhere. Before I become dry and bitter from extended cold, ready to crunch beneath someone’s foot like a dirty icicle.
I need the transition, the ease that fall offers. But why I am I whining about this. I am not sure. I think it’s because yesterday my family was in short sleeves, and tonight I drove by front lawns already adorned with Christmas lights. Halloween was exactly one week ago, by the way.
It’s a little like going from 34 to 42 overnight. That’s just how fast it goes, folks. Oops. I am actually almost 43, to be honest. And it feels like jumping from a Halloween costume into Christmas morning within mini-seconds. How did we get here? And why is it 74 degrees? (Not exactly how that last part relates, but stay with me.)
I have been putting together a syllabus for a literature class I am teaching this spring; this process is literally bringing color back to my world that I didn’t know was missing. Perusing through the textbook has been a stroll down memory lane. Two days ago, I was sitting in literature class with Dr. Waxman and Dr. Aegerter. They were bringing out the writer I always knew was inside me. I was reading Anne Bradstreet, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath in their classrooms. We were dissecting Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and Amy Tan, relatively new authors on the scene back then, barely accepted into the modern literary canon. And now, those voices are printed in my textbook, as if they’d been there all along, former supplemental reading books in Ethnic and American Literature classes back in my college days; you know, all two days ago and all.
I am waking up from a twenty-year long sleep, only I wasn’t sleeping. I was living all that time, growing, loving, breaking rules and hearts, bearing witness to the ache and agony of being alive. And I suppose in a few days, I will be 60, thinking the same about today.
I long for the transition of fall, the slow crisping of the air and slight changing of leaves, week by week.