Sunny Fall afternoons always make me feel like I’m inside an art house movie. Everything is just a little more thoughtful and slightly slower. Just a bit more sensorially vivid. To me, It feels like more of a beginning than the beginning of an ending. Like waking up from a delicious mid day nap at that moment when you're still in the fog but a bit out of it. Not wanting to wake up but knowing you must, taking the time to savor just a moment more. The afternoon seems to hold all the fall moments that I’ve ever experienced together at once, back to when I was small. All with that same vividness. All gone, but not really. They all crowd together with me in this sunbeam.
In the 70s the sun streams in the kitchen window and my mom is baking. Or I’m running errands with my dad. Places with shelves towering far above my head filled with things I know nothing about. Driving from place to in the station wagon, strapped to the passenger side of the wide front seat. The sun pressing in through the windshield making it strangely warm as the football game drones on from the radio, saying things I knew nothing about—but doing it with bursts of excitement that I can’t help but be excited by.
In the 80s, early morning band practice, standing there shivering before the sun gets up and wondering if it’s worth it. The mouthpiece stings my mouth and the brass burns my fingers with cold and I’m trying just to get through it. Then it’s Friday night and we march out onto the field. I’m not even thinking of the people watching, they are too far away in the stands to matter. The grass and the air and the lights and the uniforms are all in stark relief in the night. The sound we make becomes the entire universe. It’s electric. And after, back in the stands, all the girls want to sit just a little bit closer to keep warm from the evening chill. I’m not paying attention to the game or the conversation. I am too lost in the glorious smell of their hair.
In the 90s I am walking with a little hand around my finger. Watching little feet crunch leaves like it’s the first time again this year. My eyes see through little eyes and the world becomes amazing. I’m needed in a way I’ve never been before. The tip of my nose matches the red in her cheeks. Then comes the little him with the red in his hair. And then another. And then another. Everyone is all here now. We’ve been waiting for them all even thought we didn’t know it, even though they were all so unexpected. The real adventure has begun, and it will more difficult and amazing and amazingly difficult than I can possibly imagine. Bilbo, Frodo and me with our fantastical stories to tell. I will sit by a fire someday and love these moments so deeply.
Now we have entered a new millennium 14 years deep. We are living in the future we tried to imagine back then. One to be full of moon colonies and flying cars. I’ll buy my annual pair of gloves to keep my hands warm on the morning commute as I grip the steering wheel of my very earthbound vehicle. We seem now launch every fall with the memory, tragic thoughts of a terrible day, but I have to remember to remember how far we’ve come because we have come so far. I have to remember to remember what we’ve rebuilt because we have rebuilt so much. Here in the future my little birds are flying away from my house that is now a deeper blue. The world is so much larger and more expansive that it ever has been and yet more in reach than every before. The promise of technology didn’t take me to the moon, but it did put the vastness of the cosmos in my pocket. Somehow seems just as miraculous to me.
I remember so much, and swimming in all that it lets me forget my burdens for a moment.
It all just makes me want to write.