Murmurs on a Transitional Season

The leaves outside my window are a beautiful shade of yellow.  The ones still on the trees, at least.  The others are carpeting the sidewalk, turning it a slick reddish-brown.

I’ve always had a hard time answering the question, “What’s your favorite season?”  For as each season comes, I take a deep breath and think about how much I love this time of year, whatever time of year it is.  If I had to choose, really, as in life depends on making a choice —  it would be this murky segue between fall and winter that we are experiencing right now.

When the weather is like this, I don’t really mind when I’m indoors – at least I’m dry and mostly warm, right? (I say “mostly warm” because our house ineffectively heats the outdoors… and we prolong turning heat on until we can see our breath inside.)  This encourages more reading and writing, more contemplation about life and what I want from it.  Sometimes the depths of contemplation leave me longing for sunshine, but when I choose more superficial wants, it’s pretty easy.  What do I want from life right now?  A mug of hot cocoa.  See?  That’s easy.

And when I’m outdoors, running or walking along the streets, I feel a kinship with others who are outside too.  We don’t let a little chill or rain prevent us from breathing air that is so crisp it almost sears your throat with sweetness.  I try not to stare into houses as I walk by, but I treasure the glimpses of strangers’ lives, seeing warmth lighting up the transitional season.  The smells are good too; people cooking heartier meals filled with onions and garlic, the aroma of woodsmoke sparking a reminder that I want to create in my future a home with a fireplace.

The trees stand in various stages of undress, none quite naked yet.  The days are dimmer, a little fuzzy around the edges — perhaps our ancestors used to hibernate like bears when winter struck.  I know I find myself lulled into early sleep by the susurrations of wind on the roof, the pitter of rain-drops on the skylight.  When I sometimes find myself awake at three in the morning, which happens more often than I prefer, I count the people I love in place of sheep.  “I love…  I love…” each love wrapping my heart in blanket that makes the long night warmer and lighter, making a lonely hour of sleeplessness one filled with company in my dreams.

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