Those whom summer’s heat tortures yearn for the full moon of autumn
without even fearing the idea
that a hundred days of their life will then have passed forever.
— Buddha Shakyamuni
This has been one of the scariest Portland Octobers ever.
My fair, Rose City…was without rain for weeks. For months. Moreover, it was warm. Tank-top and flip-flops warm. Us Portlandians don’t usually have to break out the autumn wear until mid-July, but here, this year, it was (gasp!) still warm in October.
This abnormal weather was the precise and infallible evidence apocalyptic theorists were professing everywhere. However, graver plagues still ailed me first.
For without the typical Portland autumn, how was I supposed to have an excuse to stay inside? Should I actually rely upon my windshield-wiper fluid to clean the window? And how can I wear a chic, uppity scarf without at least being able to pretend that a cold neck would actually bother me?
However, thanks to the elaborate rain dance I performed every night (which looks a lot like me just sleeping in my bed), the rain finally came. In torrential pours and blustery wind, autumn arrived. And with the overcast forecast (not to be confused with an undercast twocast), came the wonderful signs that fall had sneezed on my doorstep:
For instance, you know it’s autumn when hats become less of an accessory and more of a necessity, when a lover’s kiss is your second dab of chapstick for the day, when you start your car with the air-dial turned to the red.
You know it’s autumn when your breath is no longer invisible, when the earth begins his period of seasonal balding, when the sun slips inside her glassy gown, when leaves leap from the ridges of your shoes and on to your carpet like stowaways in search of a better life.
You know it’s autumn when you no longer look forward to the coldness of your sheets, when the air smells of asphalt and you like it, when holidays appear like a magician’s coin behind your ear, when hot chocolate or hot tea, a good book, and a blanket is your wish for every Saturday.
You know it’s autumn when the red rose petals curl with black to remind you nothing is perfect, when your lawn looks like your trees pretended they were pirates and dumped their treasure across your grass, when cheeks and lips share a color, when Kleenex boxes, wool socks and foxes, early street lamps, frosty foot stamps, windshield scrapers and family capers, all, around the same time, begin to appear.
Finally, that is all coming here. Thank you, Portland.