Saturday, September 18, 2004


Early this morning, the last shards of Ivan flooded, for a while, my backyard and tore down several huge, hundred year old trees in my neighborhood that in turn took out multiple power lines each. Semi-spontaneously, we hosted visitors all day, first two other couples and their (in total) three children. With my young primate, there were four mini Ivans threatening to flood the cat and down ten-year-old lamps. Then the brother of a dear friend showed up unexpectedly from Down South with his new bride in tow. He and I slipped out to the back deck later in the afternoon to smoke, and it was then I noticed that it was cold.

The temperature and wind had moved to just beyond comfortable shirtsleeve weather. At dusk I went out to inspect the downed trees and see what progress Con Ed was making in putting things back together again, and I put on my lightest jacket, a very plain one cut somewhat like Hoffman's in the Graduate, tan on the outside and blue on the inside. It's exactly the right weight for the type of weather we get in New York in April and then later in September and much of October. I really like how the jacket hangs on me, but I often rue its lack of gusseted pockets in which to conveniently store smokes and wallets and flasks. I think it might be made of some kind of microfiber or have a nanotech coating or at least some Space Age Polymers in it as water beads up unnaturally, like mercury, on it. Then again, maybe not; I have two hand-woven sweaters, one from Normandy and one from County Ulster that do the same thing. But they're made from wool, which is made from sheep, which are certainly not made from Space Age Polymers. Well, not most of them anyway.

But I digress.

So this was the first cool evening, the first signal that Autumn is upon us here in New York. I love that New York has four distinct, generally well-demarcated seasons. You always know where you stand, weather wise, around here. I lived in Holland for many years and have visited places like Seattle and San Francisco and Christchurch where my light jacket might be just as appropriate in June as it is in November. The suddenly, unexpectedly busy social schedule today is also very Autumnal for me. Folks are all back from their holidays, suddenly the Outside doesn't lure us all away from each other. Just like the start of a new school year, all the old friends return this time of year.

I always feel a strange mixture of melancholy and expectation at the onset of Autumn. Most of the important things in my life happened in Autumn: I met my future wife, moved away from the States for nine years, learned of the death of my best friend all in Autumn. Perhaps, even more than Spring, Autumn seems full of momentum for me, a time when Things Happen. I wondered tonight, as I've apparently done for many years on the first cool evening, what's going to happen this time around.


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