Thursday, November 03, 2005

Autumn Nostalgia

Autumn Nostalgia
21 September 2005

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am for a long run, but instead of it growing light shortly after I began and being refreshing as it has been for the past couple of months, it was still dark and quiet until almost 7 am… a sign that autumn is rapidly approaching. There is something nostalgic about this time of year. It makes you feel like you are a part of an old movie in sepia tones. I seem more content in the fall. Like we get along better than the other seasons because we have so much more in common and it understands what I need. Summer is too greedy with the heat, and winter is the exact opposite. Spring is just too wet. So fall and I look forward to each other.

Winter is brutal and New York doesn’t have much of a spring. It generally goes from 50 degrees to 80 degrees in a week and we all wonder what happened to the San Diego like interim. It is too short to appreciate and blends too much into summer to be distinctive. However, I love the summer because it is the season for free spirits such as myself. It is full of outdoor activities, barbecues, Saturday bike rides over the bridge, family reunions, Frisbee, picnics, a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, outdoor concerts and plays, warm evening walks, water sports, farmer’s markets, skirts and flip flops, and all the things that we look forward to after a long winter. It is the season for adventure enthusiasts, beachcombers and campers and people always find excuses to be outside. I love summer because it is warm and friendly. There is nothing more satisfying than a day at the beach, followed by a dinner on the roof and homemade ice cream. In this city, the warm summer months pass quickly, and I try to take advantage of all this coveted season has to offer, which means I am on the go from the beginning of May until the weather turns cold and windy. It is satisfyingly exhausting. I may complain every now and then about the heat and humidity, but I try to hold my tongue and appreciate the warmth because I know it will not last. But by the time autumn strolls around the corner in his light jacket with the breeze at his back, I am ready to embrace him like an old friend.

Although I love the summer and it makes me happy, autumn is a slower, quieter more appreciative season with which I have a secret love affair. Autumn and I share a love of romanticism, change and nostalgia. The landscape changes, the canvas colors go from greens, pinks, purples and whites to the comfort colors of brown, yellow, and orange. It is also the season for burgundies and deep reds, the colors of passion signifying that this is the time of year where I feel most in tune with my inner self and all those things that are natural and beautiful about being human. I can relate to the metamorphosis of the earth and the beauty that comes from the change. The flowers bloom for the last time shedding their remaining petals that will blend in with the dirt and grass only to be covered by the leaves that will soon blanket the ground. The blue of the sky will be more subdued but just as welcome and the air becomes crisp rather than suffocating. It is my favorite time of year to run. I begin my run in the dark, which allows me to witness the earth waking up every day. It is the time that everything seems young, promising and eager but content. I like watching the leaves in the road as they are picked up by the breeze and carried away. They dance across the pavement in a waltz only they know and rest among the trees and bushes or in the running path quick with their bow and departure. It’s cool but not cold, which makes running a pleasure. Whether in the early morning as the sun rises or in the late afternoon when it begins to bid farewell to the day, the rays spread across this urban landscape over the forest of trees in Central Park lighting the sky on fire with vibrant reds, golds and oranges. It is this naturally beautiful sight that fills me with joy for what the season represents – appreciation for what makes each season so unique and enjoyable. Romance.

In the Midwest and in parts of the west, corn fields define the landscape, and in the autumn those corn fields transform into creative corn mazes that people visit and enjoy. I do not think that I will see many corn fields in these parts, so I don’t anticipate participation in this time honored tradition. However, we do have a couple of corn stalks on our roof, which have now dried up and remind me of the autumns out west. If I close my eyes and transport my memories to another place and time, I can almost smell the wet hay and feel the cold October air on my skin. I remember what it is like being dwarfed by the goliath corn stalks feeling like I am walking in circles wondering if I will ever make it out of the maze. The ground is hard and the corn still has a distinct aroma. I have a little piece of that memory on my roof and even though I won’t get lost trying to make it through my two corn stalks, I can still feel the familiar presence of past autumns. Nostalgia.

It’s hard to say how long autumn will be around because he never makes definitive plans. I am just happy to have him for as long as he will stay because I know when he leaves, the days will grow shorter, colder, darker and somehow a little lonelier, and it will be a long time before he strolls around the corner again. So for now, I appreciate his romantic view of life and the sepia toned glasses he wears that make the whole world part of an old, familiar movie.

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