An MFRW Post – and check out the other great blogs on the hop!
For the quintessential bookworm, fall is a time of cozy contemplation, of spicy, orange-colored teas and sweater tights and Oxford heels and lots and lots of books. While I dreaded the start of the school year when I was a child, college– and college in New England– meant that September was filled with excited learning, new adventures in a beloved city, and the ubiquitous color-changing, cinnamon smelling, sweater-wearing joy of academia in Boston.
I love Halloween the most. Fall flavors mean the baker and cook in me gets to experiment with spices and root vegetables and warm stews. (Though I once failed three times with a single pumpkin, on the Jack-O’Lantern, the pumpkin soup, and the pumpkin seeds…) Fall is about hunkering down, pea-coats and stacks of books to read when the sun goes down just a little earlier, without the shoulder-clenching, face beating cold of winter on the east coast.
But, of course, winter always comes. In the beginning, winter is the most colorful season of all. Dad throws Christmas lights from the third floor, spreading them before the house in an enormous Christmas tree design that even the extraterrestrials can see from the warmth of their spaceships. The Christmas tree sparkles in thirty years of acquired ornaments, an amalgam of colorful memories, like the sparkly menorah my brother and I decorated back in pre-school with shimmery dinosaurs and glitter that is still managing to stain our hands all these years later.
In the beginning, Christmas comes in orange and pink, in the cranberry and citrus cake I made for the family party last year, in the light blue snowflake cookies decorated in shimmery sprinkles and the touch of my red and gold painted fingernails. For a while, winter is bright and colorful and warm.
But the long weeks of darkness drag, many weeks past Christmas, past my lover’s birthday and the New Year celebration. In these weeks, the darkness isn’t just outside, dark late into the morning and early at night, but it lingers in the shadows of the house, in the cold car, in space between my toes that run like ice from November to April, woolen socks and flannel slippers hopeless against the winter demons.
Persephone, however, is not so hopeless, and she teases us come March and April and May, will spring start today? The crocuses think so, popping their naive heads through the still-frozen dirt. Perhaps it will start today, when I wear too many layers to work, and I find myself shivering in cold sweats. Spring plays hard to get, the fair maiden with the rosy smile and the blue of hydrangeas in her eyes, always darting behind arches and stone walls, sometimes staying long enough for the flirtatious winking of sunshine, the warm touch of days to come as her fingers tease our winter-worn skin.
And one day, the game is over. We have won this mad seduction with the bursting of fragrant blues, the return of life to the skies and the now-thawed ground. The dirt is soft, so very wet beneath our sodden shoes, memories of the bogs from so many, many years ago. Spring is coming into life. It is rebirth and renewal. It is decadent and sweet and we wear flowers on our shirts and in our hair and weave grass between our fingers while eating fresh apricots and slicing up mangos.
And somewhere, usually in the midnight of June, we trade our fingertips in the new grass for the sensation of bare thighs pressed to the long, soft stalks, growing wild and free, the way we run against early mornings and late nights, the way we drive into sunsets, drive forever, because the sun never sets, not really. Summer is the lust and the gluttony of the year. We indulge and we devour, sweet berries and every dessert we can make from them, each other, in the pool, in the car, in the places where shadows usually hide, but summer is a shadow itself, and it guards us from judgment, from repercussions.
Summer is for the young, they say, but it is truly for the reckless, for the dangerous, for the saturated and stained– fingers, lips, inner thighs to the beat of the local jazz festival carried on the wind.
And fall, my ever beloved autumn, seduces me as well, not so obviously, not so overtly, but the glimmer of knowledge in a sweet, young professor’s eye, the warmth of whiskey and fresh apple cider, as it slides down my throat, the promise of spice and cold nights, where we’ll do anything to keep warm.
Like lovers in lifetimes past, the seasons all share a part of my heart, whispering fingers, promises touches of sunlight and firelight and dreams against the background of time passing and somehow staying the same year after year. And they do return, sometimes slipping through the window, sometimes pounding down the door, but they always come back, familiar and yet, somehow different, an amalgam of memories and dreams and realities all tangled before me. And despite those differences, despite those wrinkles and lines of age, or perhaps because of, I love them all. ♦