Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Bright Blaze of an Autumnal Equinox at a Southernmost Tip of North America

Yesterday, on the day of the autumnal equinox, I woke up feeling slightly off, slightly ill, slightly tired.  I wasn't full out nauseated, but I was aware of my digestive system in a way that I'm usually not.  I usually wake up with 5 writing projects calling to me, but yesterday, I heard nothing:  no birds chirping, no bleat of the tree frogs, nothing.

I took care of some documents needed as the house selling process moves towards closing.  For years, we had a printer that would scan or copy or print, and we rarely needed it to do anything.  Now we have a more basic printer, and twice in a week, we've needed it to do more.   Yesterday, I went in search of a printer that can scan.  Along the way, I stopped at a post office so deserted that I briefly wondered if there was a federal holiday I had neglected.

I had also stopped at a grocery store, and my spouse and I took lunch over to the beach, where his dad and stepmom are staying while they are in town.  It was delightful to see their timeshare and have a simple lunch of turkey and cheese sandwiches, chips, carrots, and hummus.

I had been wanting ice cream for days, so after lunch, we decided to walk down the Hollywood Broadwalk to get some ice cream.  It was astonishingly hot, even for South Florida, even though it's still September.

Since we were the first and only customers in the ice cream shop, we stayed inside, so that our ice cream didn't melt immediately.  And then we made our way back in the blazing, bright heat.

I had read the morning news stories about the weather system that will bring autumnal weather to much of the nation, but will stall out somewhere to our north on this peninsula.  By later in the afternoon, I left my computer where I had been doing work for my seminary classes, I wondered if I had completely lost track of time and worked through until sunset.  I had not.  Clouds had rolled in, and the autumnal equinox ended in steamy rain.

After my virtual synchronous seminary class, we watched network TV, a change from what we usually do.  We wanted to catch the first episode of the reboot of The Wonder Years, and we were happy to watch the season premiere episode of The Goldbergs before it and The Conners after it and then Home Economics, a show I had seen once or twice.  It felt strange to watch TV, commercials and all--we've been doing mostly streaming for the past year or so.  It also felt like coming home, with characters we've known for a long time, and a writing arc that was both escapist and dealing with important stuff, like death and relationships--and dealing with that stuff skillfully.

On this morning's walk, I thought back to this time of year, 1998.  We were renting one unit of a tri-plex, and our landlady lived on the other end.  I came out to do my morning run, and she was sitting on the stoop with her morning cigarette.  She said, "The seasons are changing--can you feel it?"

I looked at her in disbelief.  She said, "When you've lived here awhile, you'll be able to tell."

Our morning temps are slightly cooler, 78 degrees instead of the 86 degrees of high summer pre-dawn.  That's partly seasonal shift and partly rain-cooled air.  But I will take what I can get, especially in late September when I'm yearning for, as Keats put it in "To Autumn," a "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." 

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