It’s a feeling without a specific object, a vague longing for something I can’t quite name.
Perhaps it’s a vestigial emotion, linked to another lifetime, when I lived in a place with vivid seasons and fall signaled the arrival of cold and rain.
Perhaps it’s leftover from childhood, when fall meant the return of home school. Of gathering around the kitchen table after breakfast to say the pledge of allegiance, first to the Christian flag and then to the American flag. Of opening up textbooks and trying to concentrate while babies cried in the background. Of squeezing algebra equations in between laundry and applesauce-making. Of imagining real kids in real school, carrying backpacks and book and self-conscious smiles. I wanted so much to be one of them, then. Hearing my friends share even the most banal anecdote – taking a math test, or running sprints in gym class – filled me with sharp, bitter envy.
Now the shifts between seasons are slow and subtle. Nothing starts or ends dramatically in my world. The sun still streams through my windows in the mornings, drenching my office in light. Sunsets inch earlier and earlier into the evenings, but the temperatures remain mild, even warm. I look at the sweaters and coats in my closet and wonder if I’ll need them at all in the coming months. If this year is anything like last year, I’ll pull them on only a handful of times.
The writing continues. I’m still deep in the weeds, sorting out this new architecture, patching and pasting and making sense of it all. It’s good, hard, quiet work.