I miss autumn...

My favorite season, back home--where there is one--falls (ahem) like a curtain. Cool, even chill evenings mark a welcome contrast to the sometimes hot days. There're foggy mornings, the occasional rain. Trees prepare to winter, shedding their leafy vulnerabilities. In many a place, the fallen leaves form a thick carpet that will last until spring, or until the alternating freezes and rains of winter dissolve them; oftentimes there are too many to manage with a rake.

I also miss the rituals that are associated with the fall. Going "back" to school. Football games on Friday nights, where your instrument is so cold that it burns your lips or fingers. Soccer practice in the pouring rain, winning or losing games--and waking up on the ride home with the foul taste of stale McDonald's and an hour of mouthbreathing pasted to your tongue... the condensation from 15 tired teens' breaths on the bus windows.

Strangely, given my prolonged stay in the halls of academe, I miss the rhythms of the school year. That I grew up responding to them, resonating to them, possibly explains how I can miss their absence from even so short a distance. There was always a certain promise for me in those places, even when I ached to be gone from them.

Today's the first of September, and the beginning of the long weekend that tradition marks as the last of the summer. I've very often let these things go unmarked since I grew up, to the extent that you might think I've forgotten, or was somehow unaware. You'd be wrong. I've known.

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