In between the busy-ness of this life, I’ve noticed that autumn has crept in. And part of me remembers the tangy scent of moist leaves decaying under my feet and the crisp sunshine that slants with a golden flash at this time of the year. As I drive up and down the valley my eyes are assaulted by yellows so bright I squint to look at them. And deep reds that whisper of majestic glory. I’m reminded of how I missed this while I lived at the coast.
And yet, I’ve felt pangs of longing for the ocean in recent weeks. They come and go. It’s been more than three months since the salt air has tickled my nostrils and the song of her waves has filled my head. As usual I don’t know what I want and I settle into a restlessness that makes life feel fleeting somehow. But it is the time of year as well, as the nature puts on a show in dying.
Autumn is one of my most favourite seasons. Forever tied to the academic ebb and flow, September marks the new year for me. The calendar new year always seems cold and lonely in comparison.
For so many years midterm was marked by grey, dreary days. We had a drizzly morning last week, it truly felt like mid-October to me as I walked to my classroom and I felt a sense of deja vu as I remembered my first few years as an undergraduate student, wandering around a small college campus feeling lost at first and later cynical. I wonder what it was about that time in my life that makes it seem so dismal in recollection. Those feelings of despair swamp me when I arrive at campus now. There are times when I can’t wait to leave. I’ve caught myself counting the days left in the term and then I feel guilty. Come January I will find myself alone in my house, longing to teach with every ounce of my being. January has become a hard month for me as I watch my daughter turn a yet year older and grow a little bit further away, longing for her independence even as she races back to hold my hand. On the heels of her birthday comes my own, reminding that time is ticking. And then they go back to school and the house empty … I should write but I become despondent. Sad. Fearful that I won’t ever find the purpose. Why I am here?
But January is far off as we collect pumpkins and wait for the first frost to be scraped from the windshield. Yesterday I drove far down the valley and was awed by the beauty. Nature reminds me that this beauty is always present in life even when it’s ebbing away.