It’s a miracle of Minnesota: autumn and its moments of beauty. Despite the underlying melancholy, the changing leaves are quite pretty. Before Halloween, I went walking to view the leaves along the mighty Mississippi (though it’s pretty much just another river in Minneapolis, albeit one that has contributed considerable history of this town).
The day afterward, it was very windy; the leaves were being swept onto the ground. Most of the trees had begun to change colors, though some remained green. I’m glad I went walking when I did, even though the wind made it fairly brisk outside, because the breeze took a lot of the leaves.
It was a “’tween” time.
In order to see the leaves (“leaf peeping”),
I went with my partner to Galena.
We went to see the history there, as well as because Chicago, not too far away, had cultural attractions we wanted to take part in (the opera and the symphony). The leaves were past their peak, even in Galena, but I couldn’t have gone the week before anyway.
Chicago was lovely. Among other thing, one overcast day, we visited the contemporary museum there
and ate breakfast at a great place where the wait was “only” a half hour. But, I’m back now, watching Minneapolis slip toward winter. The leaves are now more on the ground than on the trees. Already, it’s November.
This week it even snowed, and the trees are pretty leafless. Winter is on its way. Summer is past. But, most branches aren’t completely bare yet, and some trees still have summer “coats” of strange colored leaves. There are bureaucratic deadlines ahead in the New Year, income taxes for instance. Before them, holiday cards and gifts to be purchased and wrapped, cookies to be made. It’s turning into a busy time of year.
But, I find fall more sad than celebratory. The days are getting shorter. The leaves are falling. Winter, which is long in these parts, is ahead. I’m not a big enthusiast of Halloween, which, in my opinion, has become an overdone holiday.
Thanksgiving and Christmas, which I do enjoy, still seem a long way off (though Thanksgiving will soon be a commercial afterthought). Snow will stay soon. So will the cold.
Perhaps some of my melancholy has to do with what is essentially a pun on “leave.” This time of year makes me recall partners, places, perspectives I have left. That each departure resulted in something better, it’s easy to see in retrospect. However, while they were happening, the leaving was anything but easy, or future satisfaction certain.
They were, it felt then, a risk, albeit one now I’m glad I took. But, particularly this year, perhaps because I had a “landmark” birthday before summer and am now a “landmark” age, looking back has an added significance for me.
It’s easy to think of past friends and faces, places and realities I’ve lived in and through and imagine them as leading to different places, if they had persisted. But they didn’t.
Once winter is here, I can take it and even find some beauty in it. After all, the days are getting longer. Spring is ahead, and something to look forward to. No denying, it’s nice to get away to a warm climate during winter; returning to snow is not so hard then, and one knows, when one comes back usually, the snow will melt before too long.
But, getting to winter is the challenge. Fall is a “’tween” time.
Perhaps, what I need to do is look back with the same sense of inevitability and acceptance that I feel toward winter. After all, the seasons change, and so have I. A constant moving forward is change, whether personal or having to do with the seasons. In fact, sameness became, in my opinion, boring. Hanging on to my past may be pretty, but it’s futile. Like trees do their leaves, I experience a sense that I’m better prepared for the future without the camouflage and coat of the realities from the past.