I know what Ray Bradbury was talking about when he put those words to paper. And it wasn't me.
Autumn, though, does things to me. A very good friend of mine doesn't do well in autumn. I feel bad about that, because it's the only time of year I might even be halfway close to normal. I react the way people are supposed to in spring. My mind is sharper. More cleaning gets done. The small things outdoors get noticed. Last night I caught an earwig on the deck staring at me, so we had a conversation. The quality of the light and the position of the sun in the sky give me clarity. I feed on this time of year.
To be honest, this probably isn't normal. It's probably hypomanic. I've been this way every fall since childhood though. My favorite month for as long as I can remember has been October. I have incredibly distinct memories of walking through crunching leaves on my way to school and the smell of the mold underneath the wet ones. I love that smell.
Last autumn I was in physical hell with my pregnancy, and it was the only year in my memory that I took no enjoyment from it. Last autumn I lost my faith in the Universe. I felt nothing. I had no connection to anything bigger than myself. I don't know if it was the constant pain dragging me down, or if it was the fact that I was a few months into a surprise pregnancy that scared me to death. I don't know if it was because I was still carrying a dead twin inside me. I only know that it festered and blackened into hatred because I wasn't used to feeling so alone.
I let my garden go to shit last fall. I didn't cut back a single thing. I would walk outside with the dogs and see the sage turning brown and crunchy, and I'd simply turn my back.
It comes as no surprise to me, this year, that it was October 1st when I nearly died by almost blacking out behind the wheel. My initial reaction was to curse the start of the month and call it foul. A funny thing happened though. I felt a tingle. My memory sharpened. I can remember exact details from that day that have nothing to do with the emergency workers or my ER visit. I can tell you how the light was falling onto the sign at the entrance to the dump. I can tell you what the gravel looked like under my feet when I stepped out of the Ford. I know exactly which trees were on the opposite side of my car.
I can feel my body going cold and breaking into sweat and the gray take over my vision. And I can feel the struggle in my brain as I fought it. It felt like swimming in pudding.
For a few days after I was a joy to be around, according to Rich. He didn't put too much stock in it, because he's learned over the years that the downturn follows quickly. And I did fall into despair for a few days. The cats had stopped eating, and the house went berserk, and I couldn't keep up with anything. He pointed out to me that I was in a fog and couldn't think. He was right. So I decided to fight it.
I go outside to smoke several times a day. I generally smoke and come back inside as quickly as I can. I've made the effort over the past couple of weeks to pay attention while smoking. Even to the act of smoking itself. My connection is returning. I notice that I'm not alone anymore. It's a good feeling, that sense that everything is connected. I couldn't tell you what's out there, but it's something.
I'm an Autumn Person again. And now I'm going to go start some bread.