Six weeks into fall, so says the calendar, and at last I’m in the mind of autumn. The delay has to do with our weather that doesn’t behave. Blame it on those 90 degree days of September and October. Our elongated summer that is slow to start won’t relinquish its hold. It has also to do with the coral tree outside our window still incrementally green with just a few leaves exhausted, going to yellow.
To get into the mind of the season I need the chill that suggests a change of palette to rust, burned sienna and cinnamon; pig skins in the air, migrations overhead, flannel pajamas, russet pears, oatmeal, chestnuts of childhood and cozy fires. A blizzard of adjectives.
Of course we get oranged in advance of Halloween. Pumpkins show up in ice cream, soup, cereal, pasta, bread pudding, even beer. I could die happily buried inside Trader Joes.
Here in Los Angeles we don’t have harvests or swollen gourds except for those trucked in. Six years ago we went to New England to watch the spectacle of ruddy sycamores and maple leaves dying in all their glory. From a distance they looked floral. It was operatic. Golden groves of trees majestic in their last gasp death-bed scene. Divas, all of them. Fall is a season of life and death.
If I were a tree I too would be in my foliage or beyond. Some of my favorite hair has fallen. My limbs are getting brittle. Even names carved long ago into my brain are fast fading. I am weathered and wind-bent in my bough. Exaltations of larks no longer nest in my branches.
Autumn is portentous of winter’s finality. The last act, 4th quarter. But it also carries the hope and expectation of one more go round. The curtain comes down, the curtain goes up again. Why not? Another opening, another show.
This year the old incontinent sky is scheduled to wet us. Umbrellas will open like black narcissus. I want to be caught in a downpour. Drenched. Let me be puddled and pelted. Parched earth will be heard slurping. I can feel it already in my arthritic bones.
The planet’s lease shall be renewed.