Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Rogers, Arkansas in the Fall

To say that central Texas has an autumn would be to seriously stretch the limits on what is considered "autumn." But it's that time of year: the only time of year I ever get homesick for Arkansas, the Ozarks, the Boston Mountains in October. It's around this time that the leaves begin turning, the temperature starts dropping (especially at night, and sometimes, but rarely, it even snows in October), and there's just that indescribable smell in the air. The smell of impending cold, the smell of dead leaves, and late in October/November, you start smelling burning leaves all the time; it's a smell I'll never ever forget, as long as I live. Burning and dead leaves, probably, is the smell of autumn to me.

It's that time of year that always signaled a change (all the time growing up, it's associated with going back to school and starting a new year), and even having lived a Fall-free life in Texas for 11 years now, my body always starts feeling different this time of year. It's ingrained. Growing up with 4 very distinct seasons, your body learns certain rhythms and patterns that I don't think it ever lets go of. I get very nostalgic this time of year, very bittersweet. I get incredibly happy, but in a sad, wistful kind of way. It's hard to make me angry in the fall when I'm surrounded by the luscious, unbeatable beauty of the turned trees, with just about every variation of every "earth" color you can think of, covering the treeline, covering the ground, the air so crisp and fresh, the smell of smoke from bonfires and piles of raked leaves always in the air. Even now, in Texas, I can still feel it sometimes if I stand real still, or wait until the sun goes down and stand on my front porch and imagine that I can smell the trees, or that it's going to be cold when I wake up in the morning, but warm by afternoon.

The War Eagle Mill I need it again, and I need it bad. I need to be able to feel the time passing, not just know it intellectually. That's the best thing about seasons. Your year is divided up into 4 distinct quadrants, each with their own gifts and drawbacks (except Fall; there is no drawback to Fall. It's perfect), but you know that the time is passing. You can feel each season merge into the next, and when that merge is complete, and the new season has officially taken over the old one, you know that too.

I don't know why I feel it so acutely this year, or why I feel like I need to feel that change this year, and since I'm not feeling it, it's really depressing me. Maybe I should take a weekend to go home and drive up through the mountains, and see the trees, and take big lungfuls of air and bring it back with me.

Very early Fall; there's still too much green.

If you grew up somewhere without seasons, you'll never understand the circadian rhythms it creates in your body, and how much your body and emotions miss it when you don't have it anymore. You look for it in any way that you can find it, but usually come up empty. Nothing can replace it.


Mandy said...

Ah, me olde workplace, the War Eagle Mill! I, too, miss Fall more than any other season (followed closely by winter... I really miss snow). I'm going home at the end of October for a weekend... maybe I'll swing by the Mill for old time's sake.

Stacy said...

i know you don't think we have seasons here...but I always can detect the shift to fall, or at least the passing of summer. Fall, even in Texas, is the best time of year. Though when I was just in Colorado, I loved seeing the leaves start to turn on the aspens.

Tom Drew said...

I'm definitely excited to see/smell/feel the autumnal glory of St. Louis next weekend. Hopefully it'll be cool enough to warrant packing a sweater.