Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumnal equinox

Fall arrived so imperceptibly that I must have missed the day that the shadows lengthened and the smell of fallen cottonwood leaves overpowered the stench of burning fields. Maybe because my birthday coincides with the new school year, a time of great new adventures in learning, I have always cherished fall days. When I was in college, I tried to remain immersed in autumn as long as possible, trying to hold on to that fresh feeling of new beginnings and sharpened pencils, even driving to great distances into Arkansas to glimpse oak-hickory forests ablaze in "fall colors." In the Deep South and, therefore, southeast Missouri, fall ushers in subtly, bringing slightly cooler days and the bloom cycles of asters and morning glories. We don't have the white oaks and hickories of the Ozarks which paint the landscape in purple, red and yellow; no, autumn in the south is just quiet. The cicadas stop chirping, frogs stop calling, the rumbling of grain trucks no longer interrupts the quiet when autumn sets in.

Annually, I set forth new goals on my birthday. Last year, I promised to Master the Art of French Cooking (check), keep up with correspondence (check), and maintain a certain fitness goal (check). For my 35th year, I've upped the ante, as it were. This year, I will learn my ferns (shouldn't be too hard), visit Vienna and Budapest(passport willing), and finally come to terms with emotional issues that have plagued me since early adulthood, which make it impossible to create lasting emotional connections. If I don't deal with issues now, I never will. I hope that I will discover that my chosen living arrangements, at once secluded and distant from all cultural and social opportunities, are to blame for my lack of personal connection since moving to Missouri. I hope it's nothing more than that.

I thought that maybe the problem was within, that maybe I didn't nourish the friendships that I began in college, in New York, in New Orleans. I worked on keeping in touch last year, but I think the problem must be something deeper, something more sinister deriving from the lack of a loving father, an early-adulthood abusive relationship or a even scarier, a really recent revolting relationship that has made me question the very core of my personality. I'll find the root of the problem this year. It's going to be hard, much harder than learning my ferns, but the bright moon of the equinox, the fresh smell of rotting leaves and the bright, dappled light filtering through the forest ushers in a new beginning.

Tomorrow I'll post some great pictures from my herpetologist's camera. His photographs are fantastic. My herpetologist is a lot more patient than I am, much more assiduous in tracking wildlife. Most of my pictures are of plants and insects that don't really move around very much. I need to acquire the patience of my herpetologist this year, but I need to stay on task, to learn how to deal with past issues that haunt the present and keep me from true happiness. Southeast Missouri is a fascinating, though drastically altered place. True happiness comes from within, regardless of the zip code.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just remember your yoga and relax......picture yourself on a beach, listen to the waves crash on the shore....hee hee hee anb