Friday, August 19, 2011

Fall for Fall


I fully expect to be living back in the “yeah there’s too much concrete and too many people but I like it anyway” suburbs soon, but one thing I will miss about living in the “it’s too far away from my real world but I’ll have to admit it is quiet” country is the obvious connection to the nuances of nature.

Since moving out here nine years ago, to a block-long development of acre-plus lots surrounded by working farms, I have learned how to feel seasonal changes without the help of a calendar. Or a clock. I feel the shorter days. I see differences in shadows. Even on the 90-degree days of this week I sense a coming chill in the air. Animals behave just a tad differently. Birds aren’t flying south yet but their aerial dance is different than it was a few weeks ago. I just didn’t notice that stuff when I lived in a “why are there only two parking places per unit when some neighbors have three cars” townhouse development full of homeowner association regulations and un-neighborly neighbors.

Life is full of trade-offs. The high price I pay for the solitude of country living is social isolation and a long, stressful commute. In the near future I’ll have a much shorter commute, proximity to people I know and people I have yet to meet and, well, more noise and concrete and less attachment to nature. I suspect, however, that the nature connections I’ve made will stick with me and I’ll be more aware of the natural side of my surroundings than I was in the past. And even though I’ll likely be living in an apartment or condo again, my requirements include proximity to some kind of green space; that sort of thing does exist in my target neighborhoods, fortunately.

Fall has nearly always been my favorite season. I love the color palette and the sense of rebirth that comes with that time of year. Strip off the old, let the leaves fall in their calm and colorful manner, retreat into yourself in a way that forces you to prioritize what it’ll take to get through the winter; shed some old skin, knowing it’ll grow back cleaner and fresher by spring. Recharge and renew. Geez, maybe I should stop to hug a freaking tree after saying all that. If you know me well, you know I actually do mean what I’ve said and I usually find a balance between the ethereal and the pragmatic. A tree-hugging yuppie. I am comfortable in both of those worlds and find my own balance.

This was a great summer but I am ready to move on to what’s next … in so many ways.

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