Every September I say it. It’s the most beautiful month of the year where I live. Summer is still here and yet the evenings are beginning to cool. Soft breezes visit often. Wild flowers fall about lazy and flourishing in their rich colours. Spectacular cloud formations make the skies endlessly entertaining. And the light – the light of September is its greatest gift: soft, translucent, dreamy, gentle.
The Harbourfront starts to feel a little lonely in November; all those tourists have gone back to wherever it is they come from. I do find a little comfort in the quiet. The longer stretches of night enfold you; life becomes quieter, less public. In January I'll be aching for more light, but lonely November comes welcome.
A lot of people see the onset of autumn as a yearly crossroads. We feel energized for change and renewal; it’s as if the ripening leaves and drunken migratory birds lure us off tired old paths. My unanticipated absence from this space probably has something to do with all that.
It’s not good blog form, they say, taking a break without offering some sort of substitution posts. Or at least some advance notice. But then again this space has always been more about being true to me than retaining you. That’s not to say I don’t think the world of you for stopping by and offering support and conversation and encouragement. I’ve met some really wonderful friends here and for that I’m genuinely grateful.
After a couple of weeks of not being able to face that Typepad dashboard, I reassessed the future of my blog and what, if anything, I want of it. It turns out my longstanding goal of writing with more candour and openness has not changed, so I wondered if I was resisting that honesty. Especially as the desire to spend some time just living, without telling the world about how I was going about doing that, was forceful. With more certainty I know the photo project gave me license to resist the writing part. That wasn’t entirely unintentional, but now it was time to stand back and decide if this was what I really wanted.
I’ve not abandoned the photo a day project, though I will admit the “a day” part has gone amiss. Well before the blog break I’d been giving this whole “living out loud” some serious reconsideration. Blame it on Facebook.
Lest you think I’m entirely Facebook-Jaded, I still love social media. I love that people can express their passions and tell their stories on their blogs. I love that Facebook has put me and my extended family and my old friends in back touch with each other’s lives.
But I have, as should everybody, reconsidered how I want to use these things. Just as I feel it is an absurd waste of time reading that a Facebook “friend” – someone I barely knew even when I last saw them thirty years ago – has a headache or is making roast beef for supper, I also feel that my daily journal belongs in a bedside book, not on your computer screen. Some bloggers journal engagingly and with great success. I, however, am not comfortable merging the public and private. And because of that, the blog has become as insipid as an average Facebook status update.
Maybe it’s because I’m happy. Reluctant Blogger wrote once that she has no desire or need to write when she’s happy. It’s been a wonderful year and I will cherish this record of it. But it occurs to me, I don’t want to share every aspect of my personal life with the world – rather I want to share my perspective on that world.
I remain committed to the photo project for the rest of the year, and I will back-post the pictures I’ve been taking while “away.” Maybe a fresh approach on the project will reinvigorate it and, let’s hope, my writing.
Closed dome over a baseball game late in the season. Indoor baseball – it just isn't right. Summer really is over.
I get home from the long work day after a weekend of fun, after riding in the rain and wet streets, and as I'm locking up my bike I see this rainbow showing itself between a gap in the clouds. It's kind of like the universe is saying, "Aw c'mon, it's not so bad! You get a short work week, and it's autumn! Autumn is nice! Happy up kid!"
Last weekend was delicious. The days were a blessing; crisp and sunny, the kind of autumn days you need to be out in because you know that with every weekend that passes, these kinds of days are less likely to occur for… well you don’t want to think about how many months.
And it was more than that.
It started with spontaneous “beer o’clock” on Friday with family, then moved into a weekend that was about wandering around, changing minds, making diversions, sharing meals, turning your face to the sun and letting it slide its arms around your shoulders against the cool air, exploring neighbourhoods, watching diamonds floating on the lake, taking pictures of freighters, long kisses, longer conversations, sharing old pictures, beholding skylines, sleeping in, drinking cesars with big breakfasts, standing on the street corner deciding which way to walk home and then a crying like an idiot in the middle of a busy station as you collect your long-away sister.
That weekend – lets not bother to quantify the beauty. Lets call it all beautiful thing number seventy-two.
There has been a soft rain falling off and on since last night, and as I walk to work under the heavily overcast skies this morning everything is glistening luminous under the dim light; the pavement a wet black canvas painted here and there with splashes of colour reflecting the city pulsing above it.
Earlier, I lay in bed watching the sky through a gap in the curtain, thinking I was as reluctant to come to wakefulness as that sky was. Last night’s rain capped a gorgeous, warm and sunshiny Sunday – that kind of weekend day you look upon as a gift at any time of year, but particularly this one. The day was gentle; I walked and shopped and puttered around my home, and later my table housed a big pot of vegetable barley soup and toasted rosemary bread and warm company and suddenly I find myself in deep autumn with not a little pleasure.
The slowed pace amidst the low clouds and glistening streets extends that autumnal comfort even on a Monday morning. Once upon a time when I was a driver on the highway trying to get to work in mornings like this, I would curse at the way even a soft rain like this would slow everything down. Now I feel lucky to be able to find pleasure in the slowed pace of a city under a rain. It wasn’t all contentment – I wanted to walk right past my office and spend the morning in it.
I’m not sure I’ll move so peacefully into winter, but who knows? Maybe I just need to learn to carry with me in my mind the gentleness of a rainy morning.