I see my breath this morning, the first real sign of the change of season two or three weeks expired.
Dr. Mollenkott once said I would change my mind about loving autumn when I reached her age and came to realize just what it signified in our lives.
She was wrong. I still love fall in a way I can never love spring, even though I crave the coming of warmth after so long living with the deep freeze, just as I craved it that winter in 1977 when I felt lost and depressed, and wandered out into the last winter storm and saw the rain freezing on the tips of branches, and saw the first subtle signs of a budding new season.
Fall always means change to me, always suggests that what we live with now won’t last, good or bad, part of that All Things Must Pass, George Harrison sang about so long ago, a slow steady change from intense heat, usually coming with a week or so of desperately needed rain, washing away the dust from our lives, before carrying us off into the chill.
I see my breath in the air and realize I am still alive, and kicking, and ready to face the next winter of my life, even if as with so many of my family members at my age, it could be my last.
Someone stopped me on the train a few days ago, noticing me when I was scribbling in my notebooks, asking me if I was a writer, and what it is I write about, and how I was transcribing old type written pages, and I could only answer that I was preserving people’s lives, the description I gave far too inadequate to describe the almost religious experience.
“This is what I do,” I said, not expecting this woman or anybody else to fully understand that desperate need to keep alive memories, some of which aren’t even my own, clinging to the edge of autumn for as long as possible before giving up and accepting what is inevitable.