This weekend, autumn came to visit. I had been waiting for it since last year, watching closely for the first signs of the season, for the cooling temperatures, the turning of the leaves, and the added cheer the season always brings. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay long.
As I woke this past Saturday morning, I looked out at a tree standing just outside our bedroom window. The leaves were turning, and what had been a shady, green canopy was now a green and orange and brown collage of life that is, and life that was, and in some areas. Somewhere in there lies the promise of life that will again be. The turning, of course, came as a bit of a surprise, since signs of the seasons aren’t often that visible in south Florida. Yet, there they were, the leaves which now dressed themselves with the colors of the season with a simple, natural majesty designers can only dream of. The morning, the moment which defined it, was both ephemeral and eternal.
That night, for the first time since the beginning of this year, we slept with the windows open. The air conditioning was off, and all we breathed was the smooth, comforting air of an October night. It was breezy, which I suppose is why we decided to leave the windows open in the first place. But the cool breeze, not quite crisp, was refreshing in a way reminiscent of laying in a hammock on the beach.
Outside our window we could hear the sounds of the town at night, which like the wind, flowed in, impeded only by the light clatter of the blinds. We could hear neighbors we’ve never seen moving about, getting in their cars, heading somewhere we’ll never know. Probably to work at a job where rejecting the light of day isn’t looked down upon.
There I lay, listening to the sounds, wondering how many times I had left the house before the sun rose, headed to work, and only came out with enough time to see the it set as the night started anew. It’s easy to lose track of days that way.
I thought about the passing of the days and the weeks, the ones that slip through in plain sight, without notice, until the day ended, and the cold realization that this day will never again return set in. That capital had been spent. What did I get in return?
And now it was autumn. It seemed as if it was just last week we were in North Carolina for Christmas vacation. And not long before then that we had been wondering whether we’d get any visitors for Halloween, that we were moving to the new apartment, that we got married, that we met.
Taking a deep breath I released the thoughts. They would do me no good know. This was a time where it was best that I just be. And there, laying on the bed, my wife by my side now breathing deeply and calmly, I was. And I slept.
When I awoke the next morning I took a deep breath and stretched. It was about 5:30, and the autumn air had, during the passage of the evening, replaced all remnants of the artificial atmosphere of recycled air. It was fresh, calming, and invited me to lay just a bit longer to enjoy it. The light which through the window would eventually flow was still at least an hour away, and so there I lay, in darkness enjoying the moment.
Again I found myself thinking about life, realizing that the day in front of me was itself the soil for greatness. But the seed — that I would need to plant. What would I do to ensure that the day wasn’t wasted, that I used to move forward?
Laying there thinking, I drifted back into vividly dreaming slumber.
Next time I opened my eyes, I found my wife gone: she had taken the dog out for her morning walk. I sat up on the empty bed, breathed the morning air, and got to my feet. The morning light started making its way through the multicolored canopy outside the window. The cool air began warning, and the breeze began to settle, and the day again grew warm as summer stretched out its warm fingers, trying to hold on to the day. Autumn acquiesced, and just as quickly as it came, it was gone, the only proof of its visit being the browning leaves just outside the window.
This weekend, autumn came to visit. Maybe next time it’ll decide to stay for a while longer.