Fall makes a lot of people introspective. It gets them thinking about how everything dies, which makes them wonder about what comes next, which makes them moody. The days for lounging about in the sun are over. No more carefree frolicking around at the beach, drinking cold daiquiris with umbrellas. The Beach Boys days are over in the fall. It's all seriousness and back to work by September, so they say.
I say good riddance. I've never liked summer, even when I was a student and it meant not having to go to school. I always liked school and sort of missed it when I wasn't there. Growing up in Mississippi, summer meant days on end spent indoors in the air conditioning as much as possible. We'd only go out after dark to play so as to avoid heat stroke.
Granted, I do have some good memories about summers, but those are all centered in some way around finally, by the grace of the Good Lord, getting a break from the g-d*mned heat. Like when my sister and I would finally arrive red-faced and sweaty to Granny's house, after walking the mile to get there, and immediately go lay face-down on the central air conditioning vents in the floor. We'd go to separate rooms and try to talk to each other through the vents while we cooled off. Or like when we'd jump into the freezing cold swimming pool of my best friend Bethany's grandparents and build forts in the water out of the thousands of floating loungers they had lying around. But then I'd have to take the abuse by Bethany's brothers about how fat I was, listening to them yell at me not to splash all the water out of the pool when we'd jump in over and over while playing 'shark'.
So even my good summer memories were never untainted by something sweaty or mean.
I guess that's why I feel the opposite of what a lot of people feel at the onset of fall, or autumn, if you're feeling fancy. Fall feels so much like a relief from the torment of heat, sweat, and ridicule about my piggy 10-year-old body squeezed into a bathing suit. It means the start of something new, like a brand spankin' new school year, complete with, oh joy of all joys, new school supplies with that delicious new paper smell.
When I became a teacher myself, I always really liked the first week of school. Where I taught in Slovakia, it meant getting to meet these new, unique, interesting people wearing funky scarves and with off-kilter dyed hair (including boys). The first week of school, they'd all stare at me dumbfounded, especially the first-years (freshmen), and I'd most times have to console one or two after class, pleading with them not to give up and move to the math class, that they will start to understand lessons taught 100% in English.
Since there was always a wacky schedule that first week of school, it also meant sitting for hours in the English 'kabinet' (office) with my colleagues, drinking instant coffee and catching up with each other, then going out after work, walking to the city center where I was constantly running into people I knew. Lovely.
I love how the air feels so clean in the fall, and as my friend Melissa said yesterday, there's even a different smell to the fires that people burn. It's not like the fire-pit smoky smell of summer, but more of a crisper and warmer smell with fall fires. And pretty soon, we're going to start getting the crunchy sidewalk leaves and the rain, which lets us bring out our cozy sweaters and hats.
Then Halloween comes, and with all the pumpkins, scarecrows, and tiny bags of skittles, I could nearly puke of giddy eupthoria.
So I guess it makes sense cosmically that with this turning of the season, we finish our adoption paperwork. This morning, we gathered up the papers from Immigration (the 171 form), took them to the bank and got them notarized. Here we are with our favorite notary, who notarized countless documents for us, never once asking if we're actually bank customers (we are). He's been really sweet through the whole thing, and even played along as we commemorated the event:
He's one of the special agents who, in his way, is helping us get through this adoption. I look forward to taking the kiddo in there one of these days to say hi. And I hope his bosses read this blog and give him a big, hefty raise, or at the least, a chunky Christmas bonus, just for being a good guy.
Now, go get thee all with pumpkin.