Archive | 1:22 am


3 Oct

It was 3 a.m. in early October, nine years ago, when I shut my books with finality, picked up my messenger bag and walked out of Bird Library into the night. Shivering as I hurried home, my eyes glanced at the temperature gauge on campus. It showed 51 degrees, the lowest since I landed in June. That chilly memory is my first of what would be many much-loved American Falls.

The seasons ensure you do not ignore the passing of their baton. The evenings get crisper, leaves nightly dip themselves in wine, pumpkins appear at stores and farmer’s markets, and orange-brown-red-gold hues spread their deep, warm glow on the streets, on new fashions, on suddenly-scurrying, back-to-school life.

Memories abound. Of trips to the Catskills. Of freshly-baked rolls. Of a boy on a bus for 17 hours, headed north to see me. Upstate New York runs a-riot, singing requiems for earth-bound leaves. Scarves snuggle against grateful necks and noses sniff the cinnamon-apple scent of preparation.

The Delaware river rushes past us. Everybody’s in a hurry to get to the City! But wait a while, there’s a town called New Hope. Stay, unwind, explore. It has amber pendants and Mexican flan and carries carefree laughter on its wind. If you look around, you’ll find three Indian girls in hats, grinning into the camera, the future and the sun.

Boston welcomes Fall like a mother-in-law’s sister. Acceptable, tolerable and mostly harmless. Unlike the Dreaded Real Thing. It’s hard to be excited about days that nudge you closer to feeling a knife in your bones. So we pick Halloween outfits (and ‘Indian Princess’ is done to death). And take trips to the pumpkin patch, carve sinister grins and light them up with candles on flickering doorsteps. And eat carrot-ginger soup. And throw in the aforementioned pumpkins. And end up looking like one, somewhere along the way.

Fall, to me, is a sign that life is beautiful, and even though hard times await, nobody’s going down without a deafening hurrah and the planet has it in her to charm the pants off you, even as your senses fade into blindness, deafness and wintry-white oblivion.