On it comes, fall, my favorite season (do I say that every season?). In yoga class today, when we did the tree posture, holding up our arms and crooking our legs, I looked in the mirror and everyone actually looked like bare-branched autumn trees. A human forest.
Things to do to jump into fall. Pull the late season carrots, whiskery and somewhat cork-like.
At the same time, admire the mess the deer have made denuding the garden. How did they pull all those bell peppers from the plants so delicately, leaving the plants intact? They left the one sunflower standing, hanging down its giant brown head.
Make plans to attend a show – we don’t do the theater too much but Romeo and Juliet is rolling onto the boards for the hundredth time, this time with movie cutie Orlando Bloom, and we’re gonna hoof it to Broadway. Maybe I’ll even be able to pull on some shoes, with a healed, streamlined foot.
What else, in fall, what are the timeworn threads of coziness you begin to weave back into your life? Put fresh sheets on the bed, the flannel ones. Shake out the comforter that’s been shoved in the closet all summer. Burrow in.
Read the first college paper of the year, if you’re lucky enough to have a student nearby. Maud’s concerns a melancholy subject she’s been attacking for her anthro major, the proliferation of descansos, roadside shrines in New Mexico. Her photos of the sites are filled with a lonely beauty.
The comic Louis C.K. plumbed the topic of melancholy on Conan O’Brien recently and I loved what he said about the “fall back to school depression feeling,” how he was driving in his car, listening to a Springsteen tune on the radio, getting that “forever empty” feeling, that “knowledge that it’s forever and you’re alone.” It’s a mental state I remember so well from college, and also bouncing back with insane gladness, that as Louis said “you’re lucky to have sad moments.”
Two things from college that I still resonate to all these years later, melancholy and industry.
So in fall, when it gets cold and lonely, make something. Get out the trusty sewing machine, unearth some ancient fabric, make a simple pillow cover. One that Oliver will cuddle up to.
Read a new book, or revisit an old one. It’s a good time to take another look at The Catcher in the Rye – sure, an old chestnut, but with a Salinger book and movie coming out a good time as any to see if the author’s a genius or a shnook. Or both. And he knows from melancholy.
Nourish yourself. I’m stewing beef with onions, those garden carrots, garden onions and beer, not wine, because that’s what I have in the house. And fall’s about what you have in the house.