I look out my window and there is a certain slant that the sunshine has taken on that fills me with an indescribable sadness. The beautiful, swirling leaves dancing around the last few surviving flowers of summer seem as though they are taunting the poor wilted things. They are waltzing at a funeral and I want to weep for them. Inwardly I know that this is just a season and it can’t knowingly be cruel. I just can’t help hearing the moaning of the trees when the wind kicks up and they sway back and forth. Are they desperately trying to hang on to their clothing while the Autumn wind slowly strips them bare for all to see? What does it feel like to be a mighty oak tree standing naked among firs?
With the window open the smells of Autumn are like memories and the nostalgia is almost too much for me to bear. Apples and damp leaves bring me back to a place in my childhood I never wished to leave. A shack in the truest sense of the word was a place of such fun and adventure. My grandparents had a second little patch of the earth that they owned and it housed a couple of shacks. One for the cigar smoking men and the card playing. The other for the women and children with a big old wood stove for cooking. Behind the shacks were the woods where we looked for the fairies among the lady slippers. Lady slippers that were never to be picked because they were in grave danger of becoming extinct. These same woods were for catching the neighbors chickens if you happened to be of a more mischievous nature as a few of my older brothers were.
I remember laying on my back on the big old fashioned swing and looking up through the trees and seeing the slant of the sun and knowing our shack days were numbered. From the womens shack there wafted the familiar smell of pancakes and burning wood. I wanted more days there and more time. Even the smelly old cigars I would put up with I thought, if only I could freeze time. How a child can be melancholy may seem odd but for me I thought all children were. Sinking suns and sinking spirits have always been a part of my life.
Colors hold memories and feelings too. Green makes me feel damp and chilly. My bare feet recoil when they hit the damp grass of Autumn especially if I misjudged the change. It makes me so upset to have been tricked by Autumn for it is very cunning. It steals in like a thief replacing summer with dazzling colors. Most people stand in awe at the beauty and well they should. Even if only to find themselves cursing mother nature as they dig their cars out of dazzling white snow a few weeks later. The reds and oranges of Autumn make me feel angry sometime. The dark and long shadows that the setting Autumn sun instills a nameless fear. Not always but sometimes I feel like it will suck me in and swallow me up and I will forever live in the gray of it. Will this Autumn lay my soul bare as it does the mighty oak?
Will the chill of the air cause me to cease breathing as it does an infant when facing the wind? If I were a ship I would surely capsize during this time of year. Ashamed to dock myself before it happened because ships that are seaworthy stay out at sea with confident captains. Thus, I am not an oak tree or a ship. My musings of childhood Autumns and feelings of discontent now are enough to hold me in an upright position. For it is in the acknowledgment of a disease of the soul or mind that brings acceptance and deliverance to one such as I. I know why I feel what I feel. The feelings are temporary and the colors are but colors after all. They can never hold me in one place. I know I can revisit my childhood anytime I need to. All I have to do is make pancakes for breakfast on a fall morning with the window cracked just a smidge. If I am lucky someone will have their wood stove burning and the smell will commingle with mine and transport me for an instant to the shack of my youth.
Should I shed a tear or two at this time of year it’s alright. It’s part of who I am and what makes me special. Feeling so deeply what others cannot can be a gift at times. It causes me to reach out to people that some may deem invisible. The elderly woman who is struggling to get her bags from the grocery cart to her car, head down to avoid the Autumn sun and wind. ‘Let me get that for you”, is something I have no problem offering. Especially when our eyes meet and I see tears ever so slight hovering just over the bottom lids. “Isn’t this wind brutal”? I offer as an anchor to a ship who has long lost her captain. “Oh my, but the leaves are beautiful aren’t they”? She replies. “Absolutely” is my customary response. Inside the full knowledge of what another passing Autumn truly means sinks in as the sun dips. I think, “I am getting closer to being who you are you small, frail woman”. Not everyone needs to live with a mood disorder to have that revelation. I just think it is more common among us that feel the colors, aromas, sights and the sounds of change.