—And I couldn’t be happier.
Autumn is coming and I bristle with anticipation.
I’m lapping up the last vestiges of her vital essence—seasonal summer bats clicking in the morning twilight, cheap summer produce in abundance, daily walks unencumbered by coats and mittens, dragonflies circling my head as I tend the herb garden and water the trees, passionate pinks of the limitless morning sky hanging over the indigo mountains, roadside lilies festooned with jewel-like junkie beetles who much upon the deliriant-chemical containing leaves.
When you’re creative professional attempting to carve a career from the ambiguous future living in the dry, arid mountains, with the ocean lies two to three hours in any direction, Summer is less of a blessing and more of a curse. There is no AC in my humble abode, and the AC unit in my car has never been a choice example of modern technology.
Summer is a time for barefoot frolicks, true. But I walk barefoot in the snow when I setup my camera for morning snow-storm time-lapses. Weather conditions are irrelevant to my calloused hobbit toes. Summer is a kind of misery that was far more magical when I was a child. Far more magical when the ocean is near—which it never was. Far more magical when I wasn’t working constantly, getting up at four in the morning and going to bed before nine at night. The endless nights of Summer are a memory from years past. I guess if you wanna look at it a certain way, this was the first year Summer and I didn’t meet eye to eye.
This was the year Summer and I started seeing other people.
Summer didn’t infect me this year.
Summer gave up and I quit.
Summer is a dusty drying out period, a sucking up of all fluids and setting everything ablaze with light and heat. If the visual range were audio, Summer is the amp of the Sun cranked full blast—too loud and blinding for my eyes. A too loud, too hot parade punctuated by brief bouts of thunderstorms and the occasional day off.
But those clouds are passing over my mountain range with increasing frequency, and the moisture they hold close to the earth smells sweet with death and decay. I had forgotten what the wind sounds like, chattering the the teeth of the poplar trees and shaking off their dead little finger bones—pale leaves spiraling down to the pale earth—sun-bleached and sapped of life. The grasses here dry out by mid-May, the hills are all bleached straw blonde.
Autumn here is different than those more verdant places where reds and yellows colour the trees the likes of which I’ve never seen in the flesh with my own two eyes. Here Autumn is desiccating, the slow draining of life from the land.
Autumn is a harsh, but rewarding mistress; and I love her.
She is stark, desolate, and sensuous—she turns the invisible key in every burl and knot-hole in the oak trees and rich black velvet shadows come spilling out. Darkness comes and soothes my sun-burnt nerves.
The twilight hours may be shorter than the vivid rainbow color shows of high Summer, but they are deep and they are they are replenishing. The sunlight that catches in the crown of the trees at dawn is ladened with the color it pulls from the earth.
The sun is a spoonful of buckwheat honey, a ripening morsel of fruit, a golden pomegranate upon which Persephone shall supp come mid-winter.
The magic hour, as they say in the film, takes on a certain je ne sais quoi, a certain Ich weiß nicht was in Autumn. Autumn’s magic hour is truly magical, I feel it play up and down my spine and I long to dance in the purple shadows of October. I melt into the blacks and dissolve into inky bliss. Filled is it with the magic of dieing, the magic of diving in and resting in the womb of everything. The magic of change, the magic of shadows growing dark and deep and filled with mystery and bone-chill. Every ray of Autumn-light is infused with it, no matter how small—infused with this energy of death.
This energy of change.
The Equinox is drawing near and I can feel it in my marrow. Others celebrate the Solstices, throw parties and hold rituals for the longest day and the longest night; as I do myself. The Equinoxes, however, have been my power days without question and as a Libra, there are no substitutes. I feel the world slowly tip toward alignment and everything begins to hum.
Yes, Autumn is coming and my heart is glad. For even if you strip all the magic away, disregard the depth of light and colour—Autumn is comfortable. Comfortable like pumpkin spice and light sweaters and apples, yes. But for me the comfort is simpler. Helios is no longer stifling and unwelcome; I enjoy rather than shun the sun.
Crisp air, golden light, muted vibrancy—my natural habitat.
Autumn is coming, I can feel it at four in the morning as I make my tea. I can smell it, exhaled by the nighttime dew. The great exhale as the earth opens vast and musky and deep. The smell. Damp leaves and grass, slowly beginning to decay, to break down. Sweet rot perfume—it invigorates me every time.
So I drink up the last sips of Summer, lick my fingers clean of the last spurts of her, admiring the resurgence of roses—even the plants here hide from the height of Summer. I will venture to the beach. I will enjoy my breakfast under the early morning stars and I will relish my icy protein smoothies and cold, easy meals pulled straight from the fridge while I can still get away with it—ignoring that prickly chill that follows.
But Autumn is coming, and I buzz with want for its arrival.
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Ed: Sara Crolick