I’m a “quotes” person. I love quotes from people who have climbed rungs of the highest ladders, who have tripped and fallen face down in grime, who have cleansed themselves by splashing about in rain puddles, who have soared on the wings of ecstasy, who have teetered on rocky precipices, who have cradled a little person close to them and inhaled that baby’s sweetness, who have scratched art into existence, who have loved, hated, accomplished, failed, thrown in the towel, swam with rip tides until they broke free. . .who have LIVED.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?
The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”
~Stephen King (Different Seasons)
Today is one of those beautiful, fall SoFlo days that causes me to spout poetry like October by Frost or To Autumn by Keats. Every since I was a small girl, I was enthralled by the autumn sea breezes turned windy that mussed my hair and toyed with my dress’s hem.
As an adult, when I see the wind blustering through the arecas, the first thought skipping through my mind is whether or not my allergies are going to attack my sinuses and mess with my lungs. But then, memory, that all important muse, prods me into romanticizing fall like I did when I was a child and I am under autumn’s spell once more (armed with Clarinex).
So I can relive those milkweed moments from years ago when I spotted the pods opening and the tiny seedlings with fluff rising like nature’s balloons into the air. I can celebrate the first periwinkle morning glory that graces the fence. I can feel connected to that little blonde haired girl obsessed with growing things, stooping down to get a closer view of the green acorns, rubbing sage between her fingers and smelling it’s savory perfume–I can just be.
October breathes reflection for me. There’s a supernatural quality to this particular month that evokes sentimental remembrances. Whether it’s because of the changes reflected in nature that strip life down to its bare, autumnal branches, I’m not sure. What I am certain of is the fluctuating nature of life.
Have you ever been haunted? Truly chilled by specters in the form of uncanny experiences that won’t let you forget past loves or childhood’s embrace? To stand in a particular space and sense a gauzy veil has lifted and you can feel, see and almost touch your past, your joys, your sorrows?
These spirits persist in fingering our souls with their icy bittersweet hands. They haunt us, disguised as filmy apparitions of people who caressed our lives so that, while time unmercifully shoves us forward, our memories, our subconscious, resuscitates them, breathes life into them, and clothes them with skin, flesh, and bones.
So when people cross our paths who remind us of these persons in our pasts, we feel the coolness of shadows. In the shadows, a darkness which briefly flits across our hearts and is the complete opposite of warmth and sunlit freedom and meadows.
These phantoms reach and clutch and we rarely escape unscathed. Our minds, in an effort to deal with the mausoleum of preserved memories, try to wrap themselves around the mysterious and cannot make sense of it. It’s too evasive–too mettlesome to grapple.
We press forward and eventually break away from their grasps. Time, once more, fills our lives with flurries of work, bills, and children. We forget–until the next haunting.
Regardless of my native Floridian status, autumn is my favorite season. It’s true I’m deciduous leaf challenged and have yet to be so engrossed at looking up at a canopy of crimson that autumn sticks out her leg and down I go.
Yet, I do fall into autumn’s subtleties in other ways. Autumn in South Florida means many things like the traditional scents of the season, such as simmering mulled cider and pumpkin pies cooling on wire racks (in ninety degree plus weather).
But it’s much more than the fragrances of ginger, cloves and cinnamon wafting through the air. It’s sunlight that deepens from lemon zest to golden hues. It’s a sky, not desolate and bleak, but blue as salt water taffy pulled and stretched. It’s lower humidity that doesn’t smother one’s lungs like a scratchy, woolen blanket. It’s briny breezes that strengthen into whipping winds which bully our palm trees. It’s Chrysanthemums, my favorite fall flower, that greet my neighbors who stroll up to my door. It’s the sea, with kicked up waves, pounding the shore and leaving her treasures behind on the sand. It’s a harvest moon rise hauntingly reminiscent of our state fruit.
While someday I hope to view a wide expanse of scarlet maples and canary birches, I must content myself, pumpkin latte in hand, with appreciating my hometown clothed in the fall’s misty dress.