Well, my good friends, I’m starting to feel that cool August air and it’s filling me with excitement. Oddly enough, I’m also getting little waves of the normal dread, too–oh, no, cool air means winter’s coming!–but I keep reminding myself that winter this year is going to be so much different. To coin a phrase from my beloved icon Tank Girl, “It’s been swell…but the swelling’s gone down.”
We’re getting out before winter hits and I’m hella glad for that. But I’m going to miss the fall here, I think. It’s become my favourite season. Spring used to be my fav, but here in the heart of Edmonton, concrete jungle central (I’m listening to construction as I write this), spring is fugly, for lack of a better and more accurate descriptive word. But fall is still beautiful. Cool nights are a welcome relief from July’s sleepless sweaty ones. The skies are starting to darken at a reasonable time. The days are still warm and sunny, enough to make me smile, but up and down my street leaves are already starting to turn yellow and fall from the trees. What can I say? They must be delicate, or overachievers.
It’s this slow and gentle, relaxed change of season that brings up the excitement. The slow winding down of summer and the gentle arrival of fall seems almost elegant to me, or at least lazy, perhaps the only season in this harsh climate that can be called elegant.
I picture summer as a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, lounging in a deck chair, gathering energy and slightly hung over after a now unaccustomed weekend bender. Her toes lazily fiddle with one flip flop as she sucks the last sip out of her icy summer drink. She lounges in the late afternoon sun for a while longer and then breathes a deep sigh, exhausted, satisfied with her fun for another few months. Maybe she murmurs a quiet ‘bye’ to a friend lazing in another chair beside her, then she heaves her tired body out of the chair and walks slowly to her car, groggy from lack of sleep but happy all the same. She gets in her little beater and starts up the engine, toots the horn in a final farewell, and then buzzes off back to the real world and a life of her responsibilities…and that’s it. Summer’s gone.
In summer’s place is the beautiful, vibrant autumn, crisp in every way, clothes pressed, red-gold hair tidy and vivacious. Autumn has a tingling energy to her and a slight bite, just enough to get you going to where you need to be, but not enough to really hurt you. Autumn has places to go and a schedule to keep, and she stays on track whether you want her to or not. She laughs a little at your reluctance to share her motivation and forward momentum and her laugh has the tiniest edge of cruelty in it. She’s getting her shit done and you can either keep up or be left behind; she doesn’t care which you choose. But Autumn is beautiful and energizing and if you stay out of her way and just enjoy watching her work, you get to see the beauty and appreciate how she wraps up all the loose ends before she is whisked away by the wind and onto other pursuits for the next year or so. Autumn is dependable; she always comes, though her arrival is dictated only by her own agenda.
I’m happy to leave behind winter without saying goodbye. She’s always been a mean bitch. I’m eager to learn the cycle of seasons in BC. My limited experience makes me think that BC will have two seasons: wet and dry. I have been a little sad that we won’t arrive at the beginning of the planting season but I think it’ll turn out to be a good thing because it will allow me to study my land and to get a feel for the cycles and signs of the earth and environment before I try to bend it to my will (marginally at least). It’ll take time for me to transition from this climate that I’ve known for 31 years to a completely new and different climate. I’m really excited about the change but I’m also really nervous. My connection to the earth and the environment is very deep-seated and this change, though lovely, will be significant. Not to mention the fact that I won’t be able to look into the woods and know many of the plants. I won’t know the typical bird species or the little forest mammals. I’ll have to learn how to deal with new critters and face my fear of rats, which is all in theory only, since I’ve never in my life seen a single rat–Alberta has a no-rat policy thing on the go.
I know that everything will become normal really quickly, but I’m a person who notices the tiny things in life. To me, it’s these little minutiae that are the important things, that landmark and orient me in my environment, in my life cycle and the earth’s life cycle. All my landmarks will be gone and I’ll be totally disoriented. I’m really starting from scratch. You probably think it’s silly to be nervous about these kinds of things and I can’t really do more to explain it, except to say that it’s giving me a sense of vertigo, a feeling of being completely ungrounded and unconnected. But I know how to change that–simple connection to the natural world. Lots of walks, lots of simply digging my fingers into the earth and just feeling myself kinesthetically connected to my new home.
Like I said, Edmonton’s been swell…but the swelling’s gone down. Time for me to leave. We’re packing up the UHaul August 24 and hitting the road early morning August 25. Arrival at our new home scheduled for the evening of August 26.
It’ll probably be an easy change, but it’s a change all the same. My nerves and excitement will calm and our little family will find routines and stability soon. I know it.