Autumn

October 17, 2007
By
It is a Thursday afternoon during a breezy day of autumn. Sitting in my last class of the day, I glance out the window to the view of our school's faculty parking lot. The sky is a dark blue gray, low clouds acquiescing to clouds above. Leaves, a variety of hues, blow through the chilly fall wind as birds fly to the warmth of the south. I find myself yearning to be outside in the cool air, walking among the leaves, hearing them crackle under each footstep I take. I am not just wishing for the tranquility of the outdoors but for the simplicity as well, a rake in my hand with the only task of making our lawn tidy. This thought is not a protest against the bustle of my busy life but a longing for reality of my daydreaming of past falls. My focus of today’s class topic, The French Revolution, fades; my mind’s longing to relieve the past makes my current daydreams turn nostalgic.

When I was actively involved in my church youth group (what now seems like decades ago), I volunteered to clean up the remains of my favorite season every year. Our group raked leaves into huge piles, dots of orange paint among a green canvas. Black trash bags were the fate of the trees’ offerings. Bundled up in hooded sweatshirts, coats, and gloves, we brushed up each leaf until they were gone, and then rewarded ourselves with hot apple cider and the warmth given off by a neighbor’s fireplace. Even then, I appreciated the beauty of the season between hot and cold, a blending of perfect to create imperfection present in the red and orange patches in the trees and the brown patches in the earthly green grass. Somehow this seemed more beautiful than a perfect array of colors.

As I daydream, I am also taken back to the memories of weekly dance lessons I took every Saturday. My father would rive me the thirty minutes to my dance studio, putting up with my ramblings of friends and school and the blasting of my homemade greatest hits tape of N’Sync songs as it played through the car stereo speakers. Our car drove among the customized shrubbery and architecture of a neighboring town. The dark autumn skies oversaw our journey to the setting of one of my favorite activities. I lived for these Saturdays, spending time with my father whom I admired (and still do) so much. After my lesson, I would ask him to eat at my favorite fast food place, Burger King, and we would enjoy two chicken sandwiches, devouring the whole thing with no worries about calories or health, just the taste of a relaxing Saturday. My father would get extra dinner mints for me to eat later since they were my favorite. We would then travel home and the rest of the day would be spent riding my bike on the streets of our neighborhood, speeding quickly on the pavement pretending that I was in a race or on a journey through western mountains. My long blonde hair would flow in the wind with the cool fall air and a blue windbreaker would cover my back, the zipper clapping along with every turn of the bike pedals.

On days that the wind blew too coldly to venture the great outdoors, I curdled up with my favorite canine friend, who wore a brown suit of skin, and watched all of what I considered the greatest movies of all time. With the wind blowing ferociously outside, I would watch the magical moment of love occur between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in my favorite chick flick, “Sleepless in Seattle”, a movie that made love seem so simple and everlasting. I would sink down in a big sweatshirt and pull a blanket up to my chin while watching Mr. Hank’s frantically search for his son on top of the Empire State Building. Of course, unlike many of today’s relationships, the best part was the happy ending; an ending that showed a love that could never be broken.

My memories of past falls sadden me because they can never occur again, yet they offer a temporary escape from a busy and sometimes stressful life. It’s funny how one orange leaf dancing in the wind can bring back emotions and memories. A simple product of nature can cure emptiness by filling it with sounds, smells, and scenes of the past.

The bell for my last class rings and the school day has ended, signaling the ten minutes I have to prepare for cross country practice. I am pulled back into reality and my memories quickly fade away; class dismissed.





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