Today when I woke up I decided to take the bull by the horns. I made an announcement to myself while we were brushing our teeth. I said, “Self, fall is coming and this year we’re going to love it!” Self raised a cynical eyebrow at me in the mirror. Her expression said,”Yeah. Good luck with that.” I ignored Self and silently told her she was being an asshole. Off we went to busy ourselves with our day and I gave Self the cold shoulder for the rest of the morning.
It was right about then that Self piped up again and said, “I told you so. This fall will be no different.” I stood in the driveway rubbing the bump that was growing on my head and told Self to shut up. I laughed at the irony of that rogue acorn and began thinking about how my psyche is completely ruled by the four seasons. Fall should be terrific. It’s a season bursting with color and crisp, cool air that requires fabulous sweaters and tall leather boots. My hair stops being frizzy and my skin doesn’t break out in the fall. I can start whipping up all of those delicious cold weather soups and stews, pairing them with warm, crusty garlic bread. We can have roaring fires in the kitchen fireplace and make s’mores. We’ll be able to turn out the lights and sit in front of the crackling fire with bellies full of chocolate and marshmallow, listening to the wind howling outside. We’ll hear the rain coming down sideways against the windows and feel the biting, damp air as it winds its way under the door jams to chill our bones. The trees will become skeletons, shaking their barren branches at us mockingly. Oh wait…, I think I got sidetracked. I’m supposed to be thinking positively.
Fall. It also brings about the yearly celebration of my birth. Yay. This year I will be celebrating my 40th year of life. I love birthdays, just not mine. I don’t really mind the getting older part; it’s just that up to October 15th, fall is bucolic. The leaves are putting on their yearly show of color; the days are still sunny and pleasant. Yet, each year on the dawn of October 15th, the sky suddenly looks like someone dipped a brush in the dreariest of grey paint and brushed it right over the sun. I look around at the leaves and realize that the few that remain are desperately clinging to the trees and looking rather dead. The ground is wet and rotting leaves lay stuck to the driveway. It’s like someone took an eraser and wiped all of the color from the world. The only colors that seem to remain are orange and black.
Those fall days were incredibly beautiful. I don’t think birthdays and back to school became so difficult and gloomy until after I moved away. Maybe I left my innocence and happiness behind in that little town, along with my best girl friends. In my high school and college years I occasionally ran across some of those old friends. I was so jealous that they all got to stay there in that place. I wanted nothing more to be there with them, where everyone knew one another. I imagined them going thru their teenage years together as a kind of extended family. I was so angry, sad and jealous that I would pretend I didn’t know them if I happened to see them.