The Leaves And I Sigh: A Writer’s Melancholy
If you don’t know this about me, I’m not a fan of winter. I know, I know, Colorado winters are mild compared to some. I’m a Mexican Apache Aztec with zero enthusiasm for the cold. Oh sure, I can sit at my desk with a steaming cup of coffee, wrapped in one of my serape shawls and my feet ensconced in wool socks. I look out on the sparkling blanket of snow and ice and wish I were a bear. Not a polar bear, but a hibernating, deep in a cave, eat my body weight in the autumn, Kodiak bear.
Born in California, lived in Arizona and then exiled to the wilds of Colorado, I spent a good share of my youth in the snow. Mind you, I’d never seen snow until I was seven or eight. I can’t remember thinking about snow or wishing for snow as a child. I’m a lizard. I love the dry, sun-warmed heat. Note I said dry heat. I did spend some time in the West Virginia summer visiting my father’s side of the family. I do remember the most hellacious case of the hives I ever experienced because of the muggy, humid and stifling heat.
I snow skied, sledded and dug ice caves growing up, all as a way to pass the time until summer. Summer meant the lake, the boat and water skiing in the sun. Summer meant the beach and L.A. Summer meant long days with oodles of sunshine and no thought of staying inside. I can get up with the sun and collapse at ten. Even now, summer is sitting on the patio in the early morning light sipping coffee. I bask in the bloom and burst of the yard, the splash and gurgle of my little creek as the day warms up with the promise of blue skies. An afternoon thunderstorm crashing with thunder and deluge is a delight. Hail, not so much and the flooding isn’t so fun either.
Autumn is a fickle season in Colorado. We can’t bet on Indian summer or a gradual transition into winter. Could be a tree splitting blizzard the first week of October followed by ninety-degree heat swindling the plants into a new blossoming. This year sees an easing of the season. Some trees cling to their bright, green leaves in denial of the coming change. I’m with them. Each shift from yellow to orange, each leaf drops with a sigh I echo.
Fall brings a writer’s melancholy and nostalgia with the smell of fallen leaves and a chill in the air. I think of old friends, old memories and feel time passing in a way I don’t the rest of the year. I also dig in, a three-year-old refusing the inevitability of bedtime. I don’t want winter to come, I don’t want winter to come.
Now a lift ticket is upwards of $75.00. I could suck up being cold all day for those $15.00 King Soopers lift tickets. We’d pile into the Hanrahan’s van at 4 in the morning to bomb our way into the high country. Sure, I loved the swish and wind of the downhill and most days, we’d have a relatively short wait in the lift lines. We could plan it, so we didn’t come down more than halfway all day and rarely have to wait in line. Still, my main obstacle was freezing my butt off. I remember a white out at Arapahoe Basin or maybe Keystone driving us off the mountain early in the day. We stopped to go bowling. Do you know how ridiculous bowling in snow pants is?
One bonus of winter. No shortage of writing time. I’m trapped. The windows stay shut against the frigid weather. The sun hangs out in the other hemisphere most of the day leaving me rising in the dark and yawning at 4 p.m. I’ll finish The Esau Convergence. Kill a good part of the murder mystery, dig deep into the alternate reality trilogy, and go a little batty with self-imposed blockade.
Talk about batty, I spent last winter bed ridden after breaking my ankle. This winter I’ll be compelled to shovel snow….ick. I also have warm weather dogs. The writing staff loves the drift and pile of snow for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, it’s all balancing paws in the air while trying to scramble back into the house as quickly as possible. We wrap them up burrito-style at bedtime, never to see their noses until morning.
I envy them and the bears. Just stoke up the fire, leave my groceries at the door, and shovel me out come April….if we don’t have a May Day blizzard.