Watchful of the shifting days

I've never had a desk in front of a window before. I do now, for the next eight weeks, and it's where I'm sitting now, looking out over the backyard. Some trees are still full-green, but the lawn has a good cover of dry fallen leaves. It makes me remember the storm that was supposed to be Hurricane Irene — my Boston friend's lawn littered afterwards as if with a sudden green autumn.

I'm back at college for my very last six credits. Anthropology of global Christianity, a German independent study on expatriate memoirs, and public speaking. It's a little lonely right now, but I'm glad to be here. Challah and microwave tea and waiting for my classes to start (tomorrow).

There is less bitter in my bittersweet this autumn. Less dread. I will be able to savor the interval that straddles late fall/early winter, a tremendously evocative time, but with the knowledge that I am free to depart to coastal California before the deep, teethy part of winter descends. It's a bit cheating, to want the moods of October and November and December without the expectation of the full length and dark of winter, without the prospect of digging in and waiting until the cold lifts of its own (grudgingly, gray-and-muddily). But the Chicago winters have taken enough from me; we can call it even.

I know it's traditionally polite and superficial to talk about the weather, but I would do it for the pleasure and interest of it. For all that modern houses and cars and supermarkets insulate us from what seasons and weather have meant to most of humanity for most of our history,  it's still impossible not to notice or be affected by them (we are still human animals). They anchor me in the present — through my senses, for better or worse/lighter or darker — even while my thoughts swim in and out of reflection and memories. And keep reminding me that time is more spiral than linear — directional, but cyclical, to paraphrase a Madeleine L'Engle character. Every autumn I am swinging back around past every other autumn I've had, close enough to reach out and graze them with my fingers.

9 comments:

Q 10/18/2011 5:20 PM  

Yaaaaaaay she's back!

Holly 10/18/2011 6:07 PM  

Q - :) Hello!

Carl 10/19/2011 10:25 AM  

Lovely post, my dear...

Jenica 10/19/2011 9:36 PM  

Tremendously evocative--yes, autumn is just that. Even though I understand why you want to leave the winter behind you, I'm so grateful we have seasons. Watching them change is so exciting, every time, and I love them all.

Holly 10/19/2011 9:52 PM  

Carl - Thank you.

Jenica - They give a most precious texture to our days, yes... *is humming the Doxology*

odessa 10/20/2011 7:40 PM  

"Every autumn I am swinging back around past every other autumn I've had, close enough to reach out and graze them with my fingers." -- love this. enjoy your last months of college, holly! :)

Holly 10/21/2011 2:26 PM  

odessa - Thank you much, Odessa. I intend to. :)

faith 10/22/2011 6:01 PM  

I wish we had more autumn here. Here, summer starts in April or May and lasts through mid-October. Late November it gets to be pretty and lovely out, and it might get cold mid-January, but after that it warms up again, which is too bad, because I love autumn. Fortunately, a few hour's drive can take you to beautiful forests and mountains.

And I love Madeleine L'Engle; nothing carries the flavor of autumn in my mind as clearly as her Time quartet and other related books do (except maybe The Fellowship Of The Ring).

Holly 10/23/2011 4:51 PM  

faith - I agree, Madeleine L'Engle novels are made for fall. And I still remember your descriptions of reading FotR aloud together in your dad's study in the fall.

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