Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trying Not to Grouse at the Autumnal Equinox

In spite of the harvest, in spite of the colorful trees, the brisk days, the frost-edges leaves, autumn is not my favorite time.

Autumn continues to be the precursor to winter, no matter how I try to think of the present, stay in the now, la-di-da. We hit the equinox, and my dahlias are dying. Everything in my garden that has given me joy all spring and summer is fading to death. The optimism I have worked so hard to build in AA now has to work hard against the flower gardener's sorrow.

I'm out there in the garden every morning, gathering in the last survivors, placing vases of flowers everywhere in my home. You'd think I was preparing for a catastrophe.

We're going through a heat wave here, a week of the 100+ temperatures; you'd think I'd be happy. But I'm not. I'm sad. I'm picking the stragglers, the vulnerable, the less-than-award-winners I grew this summer. Negative thinking is running amok.

It's a beautiful world I live in, BUT depression is starting to set in as the light says goodnight earlier each day. Maybe I suffer from SADD. Maybe I'm just MAD. I pour my heart and hands into that garden and it is the season for seeds, little birds that feed on the seeds, the last hurrah before the season I hate.

Boy, am I feeling melancholy today. The heat is cooking the tender young buds. Another week of this is forecast. Blah, blah, blah.

Thank God for small things, big things: I'm headed tomorrow for the redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. Thank God Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't close the California campgrounds. Thank God that today is my 18-month sobriety date. (Enter negative thinking: I had 15 years and went out!) (Out, damn thought; I've had a wonderful life of sobriety mostly, and I work the program hard, and I sponsor three beautiful beacons of women who are getting It, and the past 18 months has been among the best of my whole life! Thank you, Higher Power, that I haven't once thought of killing myself in a long, long time. There)

Okay, now I'm more serene. We can learn from the cycles of life. I have learned: to have faith that the dead will rise again; to have faith that each season is necessary; to trudge when necessary; to write poems when sad; to enjoy the moment even though this too shall pass; to use the same approach when unhappy; and to be glad for those who are glad about autumn.

According to the weather report, fall won't hit here for quite a few weeks, and then we'll have the pumpkins and squash, the riotous joy in the trees. The good news is: I can still wear shorts!

Here's a silly poem about my take on the autumnal equinox.


One wakens to find an autumnal gloom
has lowered the boom on summer.
The bright yellow days segue to grays,
and the loins that ran rampant grow still
Yes, autumn is crisp with colors in the mist,
with apples and pumpkins galore, but still –
And not the least of all are the colors of fall
and the riotous joy in the trees. But please
let the haze drift away and the sun warm this day,
and don’t let the winter come soon. For one’s bones
are brittle and they ache a little, and one’s brain
doesn’t bloom in the gloom.

Chris Alba (c) 2008


lakeviewer said...

I love the last line, "one's brain doesn't bloom in the gloom."

You are going to be o.k., especially if you get out and go camping. Good for you. But I know what you're feeling, the dread of those cold, wet months ahead. Does it snow or rain much where you are? We have two seasons, both temperate, marine weather. One is wet, for six months, one is mostly dry for another six months. The wet one feels longer.

Anaya said...

I say it again. You have such a beautiful way with words.
I am not a fan of the autum myself. I love the spring which just arrived here in New Zealand.

Gin said...

18-months! You have been given quite a gift my friend. I always find myself looking forward to fall and winter, but about halfway through I am dying for spring and summer. I guess I can never be satisfied. :-)

Syd said...

I think that fall is bittersweet. The light is poignant, the dying of the garden brings back memories of sweet tomatoes, the color of leaves and the browning of the marsh grass remind me that summer has faded. I understand your thoughts on this. I am going to enjoy each day though as if it were my last.

Steve E. said...

"...and one’s brain
doesn’t bloom in the gloom" (room of doom?).

I too like spring and summer, even though in Naples that's like saying I like chocolate and chocolate!

PEACE! Enjoy winter (Ugh!) It IS pretty, but I'll wait for the photos OK? Please send, or blog them???

big Jenn said...

I love the fall. I'm OK with winter till the holidays are over, then it's a struggle. One thing I really like about winter is that it's so long here, when spring finally comes, it's simply awesome. I like seasons. Winter is a time to rest and reflect too.
You should plant some things for a winter garden,plants with colored stems, seeds for birds, conifers...)jeNN

Tall Kay said...

Hey Chris! Congratualtions on 18 months! That's wonderful! I just love how you talk to yourself while you're writing!

You are going to have a fantastic time camping. I wish I was going with you. I think if you found something you loved to do in the may change your perception. And ya know, we're all about changin'! Sending you a big hug and a smile :o)

the walking man said...

There is a key you know. a key to autumn and all that follows...hate it! Yeah i know I know we're supposed to ,ove everything and be all happy and shit but I figure that if I love three seasons a year then I can abhor one without harm because the scales are still balanced to the good. Together we will show abiding disgust for the barren season.

Shadow said...

there's a beautiful autumn in your words...

and congratulations on your 18-months. that's great!!!!!

enchantedoak said...

I'm with Walking Man on this one. Love three seasons, feel free to hate the fourh.
Those who congraulated me on the 18-month sobriety chip: thank you. I've worked hard for the money (no, wait, that's a different song.)
I have enjoyed every bit of blogging and getting comments about your experience, strenth and hopeYhe Big Sur Station now boasts wi-fi-, but I'm going to use the time to take some pics, catch meetings, rest (when not cooking for 8 moochers and touch my awesome Higher Power in the big trees. Love to you all.