Autumn, My Season
The other day author Lidia Yuknavitch posted on Twitter, oh fall. come. It doesn’t take a great many words to summon a large expectation and dream, and I echo her thoughts in this post, at least how I read them.
It is not here yet, only in my dreams. I’ve waddled through summer like a zombie, hoping to run again or even hike distance again–meanwhile keeping as active as possible. I think I’ll leave my medical things out of this blog from now on–but I finally got some medication and I still hope to run again once things get better. I just don’t know when that will be. You may notice that I changed the blog title. I haven’t run regularly now for three months. But I did find the new title can include running and hiking when I start again, and I can still blog about the subjects that I have been: the great outdoors, storytelling, etc.
All that aside, it is almost time for my favorite season. We still have some very hot weather happening, and a drought. While southeastern Texas floods, our province is experiencing wild fires, some of which are setting records as far as hectares burning. Over here, close to the coast, the summer has been silent and wild. My kale is failing. A bear is roaming the neighborhood. The grass is brown. Stressed trees have dropped golden reminders of themselves to the dry terrain. Endless days of blue skies and starred nights float by us, one after another, endlessly yet no less amazingly. Still, a walk in the woods reveals rich pockets of green rainforest; around its perimeters is a new gas line, increased housing.
Now I sit here with a window to the yard, where blackberries are fully ripening, and I dream of fall. I do this every year, even though summer is also one of my seasons. I was born into the fall, as was my dad, who is now gone from my life. Memories soak the passing of time as I recall birthdays when he was alive and healthy, how we’d always celebrate together and the whole family would gather around. Things haven’t changed much as far as festivity: my birthday and my husband’s are close together, and we have a couple friends with birthdays near ours, so the smell of cake and candles, and the laughter and get-togethers with loved ones, are still associated with cool, crisp days and nights. I still experience laughing and walking out into the night from favorite restaurants (mine, a little Mediterranean place that serves wonderful red wine and a great eggplant dish) that we splurge on during birthdays.
The season I was born into has always shaped who I am: enter the cozy chill, the longer nights, the time to collect sweaters and flannel from storage, the uncanny and dark whimsy of Halloween, excuses to make warm mulled wine and pumpkin breads, Thanksgiving and family gatherings, a kitchen full of women drinking wine and stuffing turkey or buttering squash and talking a mile a minute in the mere thrill of just being alive, the still warm sun over the horizon, the colder nights, the lighting of fireplaces and reading by the fire, rereading Poe and Lovecraft and Kipling and Blackwood, the cozy colors dawning outdoors, the baring trees reminding us that not all is flourishing and beautiful–but will be again. This season, to me, is not about death, however, but renewal of life, with harvests and togetherness and golden light washing over the Earth. This late afternoon golden light is probably the most soothing and beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. It comes with scents of firewood smoke and apples and hay and a succinct fresh aroma covering everything. I wonder if it’s something I sensed when born, this silent light coming in through a window nearby as I lay wriggling and tiny as an infant. Far from making me feel as though winter is coming and flora is dying, autumn brings renewal to who I am. It washes the land in spectacular hues and warms the chillier nights. I ended my first novel with such a scene of this golden light and sense of renewal, and while the story spoke heavily to the ephemeral nature of all life, it promised another day would come.
This fall is full of interviews for the main site, and I have temporarily closed submissions to the press so that I can get back to my own writing in the new Wild Mountain series (both the first book revision and the second book writing is coming along nicely). I’m also doing a series of ecological weird fiction posts over at SFF World–great vibes for the fall, and I am humbled by how weird fiction authors are so successful at pulling at emotions and mood as they confound reality by teasing us that what is real is also uncanny and mysterious. That what we think we know is eclipsed by the odd: anything from the non-Euclidean geometry of a place to strange topographies to something that goes deeper into ecology than simple eco-mimetic writings.
The featured image is one we took at Wells Grey Provincial Park in the autumn of 2011. It’s from the Green Mountain lookout point.