Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Melancholy

I sat up in bed one night this week, shivering, listening to the wind as it scratched at my window screen. The next morning it was chilly, and fat gray-pink clouds floated past my kitchen in an expanse of incredibly blue sky. A scrawny white cat stretched out on the windowsill in a small patch of sunlight, trying to keep warm.

Just like that, fall is here.

I've been scanning cookbooks in search of soup recipes, looking online for new sweaters, and plowing through bags of chocolate butter cookies ever since those clouds appeared. Something about the change of seasons always makes me want to curl up in ball and hide - not out of sadness, not exactly. But it hits a certain place of melancholy for me, and it takes me awhile to find my feet again each autumn. It takes gallons of soup and piles of cookies and books and sweaters and hours spent staring out of windows, daydreaming, before I come to terms with the fall.

This is going to be a particularly damp and heavy season for me. My last fall in Amman, ever, which means I'm counting down days. A very lonely fall, for reasons you might guess. But also busy - no time to wallow, ever. I work, I cook, I write, I bake, I work out, I read, I sleep. I start over the next day, with no time for breaks in between. That's always easiest for me. Don't stop to think, or you never can start again.

It may sound as if I'm depressed, but I assure you I'm not. In some ways, fall is my favorite season. I think, in a strange sort of way, I enjoy the melancholy. I enjoy the sense that time is passing, that I need to grab ahold of what I want with both hands and refuse to let go. I like flashing back to autumns gone by, to think on the places I've been, the places I could still go. I like thinking back to my tiny house in Long Beach, to the coffee shop on cold days in Westwood Village, to my first fall in college, when I was still frightened and friendless, to that graduate school fall when you could hear the 'SC marching band from every point on campus.

I mean, sure: those days are gone, and they're never coming back. But what I have now? Its all good. It's plenty enough for me.

Mostly enough, anyway. It seems I've run out of butter cookies.

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