The trees have yellow in them. A signal that summer is ending. It starts as a friendly reminder. “Hi there, change is happening….” If you’d have asked me for the past 40 years of my life, which season was my favorite, without hesitation and probably before you could finish the sentence, I’d reply with a quick “autumn!” (Or fall).
There’s many reasons why I’ve consistently picked the fall of the year. Some are obvious… The colors – the reds, oranges, yellows and browns. The sheer beauty of it. The smell of fallen leaves. The sound of the crunch under your foot. The chill in the air. The early evenings when it’s still nice out but the slight hint of a chill is in the air. Jacket weather. The fall holidays. Homecoming. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Birthdays and Christmas. As a kid it was the excitement of going back to school. Seeing your friends again. The plastic smell of Trapper Keepers, wooden pencils and questionable glue. Being busy and focused on the new task at hand. The start of something new indoors as the natural world outside dies.
Winters are especially long in North Dakota. It’s not so much the snow or the cold, although they too can be brutal – it’s the length of winter up here. The darkness in the late afternoon. The lack of blue sky. I’ve found to be functional in my life, I need blue skies. Late October until late April or mid-May. Long. If I were to try to explain the seasons in North Dakota, I’d say it’s like trying to make soup from a can when you don’t have any tools or appliances. There’s the early hard struggle to get the damn thing open, followed by the audible condensed plop of a solid mass hitting the bowl. Followed by a rush of water covering everything. A quick, electrical explosion of heat out of nowhere that if not enjoyed immediately, will quickly cool just as quickly as it was heated. Solidifying back into a cold mess resembling what it originally looked like when you struggled to open it the first time. And since you must eat to stay alive – you repeat this process over again. One complete trip around the sun, aka living in North Dakota. Long winters that often times you have to dig out of… the spring flooding… the blast of summer sweat & mosquito stew…
Note: Is it always bleak and unappealing? No, of course not – but that’s not the point. This is the nutshell definition and my perception at this moment which makes it my reality and not yours. So there’s no need to correct me on my own opinion. The trees are in fact yellowing….. Where was I…. oh yeah:
Then out of nowhere like a thief in the night, a strong wind will blow and the trees, thou mighty, stand no chance and will be stripped overnight. Left bare from their beautiful coats of colors and left naked…. Naked for so much longer than they have to be. Waiting for the doctor in the gown for longer than you should have to be. Soon enough, I’ll be able to see things from my window with a different clarity. A view that I don’t particularly care to see – everything & nothing. In black and white. No color to contrast the gray sky to the snow covered ground. With one exception… The large red “M” from Minot High School on the hill behind my house.
A reminder of where I’m at. What I’ve done. Where I’ve been. The letter M has followed me throughout my life.
Every real relationship I’ve had – their names all begin with an M.
Minot Air Force Base
Minot High School
The seasons change. I don’t like it. Autumn is no longer my favorite season. The end will come soon enough for all of us. I, for one, haven’t been in a rush to get there. The seasons have changed. I have changed – in too many ways.
It’s not a pity party or a “woe is me” scenario. This s my assessment of where I am at today. Tomorrow I will get up, shower & dress, look out the window and stare at the trees for a while… loosing count attempting to count the yellow leaves… and then go to work like every other day.
Alive but not living.
The trees are starting to yellow.
The seasons are changing.
And so am I.