Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fall

Fall is here. The smells, the moments. “Fall holds a special place in my memories,” Ciera said.

I can smell fall. The thick air, full of earth and moisture, calls out in the purple night; I listen closely, sure I can hear coming rain. But for the moment, I can only see stars. Cold pinpoints against the deep azure sky, outlines of trees frame the depths of the universe. And I breathe deeply. A distant wind rustles the evergreen leaves. I can almost taste the thick spices of baked goods. Multiple varieties of squash inhabit the produce aisle, replacing the bright fruits of the summer.

The earth embraces me slowly. Red leaves litter a sidewalk, crunching beneath my feet. Leaf blowers replace lawn mowers, scarves replace halters; long skirts in matted colors. Tan, orange, yellow, and red. The colors of autumn beckon. Clouds rush overhead, moving south with the birds. I think of rowing, the simple feel of a boat under my body—smooth motions, strokes down an autumnal creek. The trees change too quickly for me to notice—too slowly for me to watch.

The ocean is rough, whitecaps remind me to wear a heavier sweater. I put on my socks, put away my flip-flops. The earth surrounds me. Suddenly the colors all make sense. A dark mahogany finish, the smell of a bookstore. The warmth of a coffee shop. The lure of a bowl of soup. And creatures stare at me when I walk through the woods, curious that I do not recoil at the coming winter. “The fall is here,” the wicker chair says. Ciera sits and reads a book.

The sky turns red as the sun sets. And every breath is full. I cannot yet see my breath before me, but I know it is coming. I bundle up in my sweatshirt; under knit blankets and layers of indoor comfort.

The fall holds a different feeling; one heavy as the earth beneath my feet. I dance with Ciera at a middle school; promise to learn to swing dance. I reminisce with her under an orange street light. High school was so long ago, but fall makes old memories new as I hold her hand to cross an empty street.