For everything there is a season, and presumably that goes for everyone as well. But this is not the season for me, no no no it’s not. Fall is just pre-winter, which exists to transition me into a condition I abhor, and will need much mental and physical fortitude to trudge through for nine months. I’ve always felt disappointed at the first sigh of fall, but never more than the last few years living in Portland. You can go address it romantically, and swish through fallen leaves and clutch a hot drink with your hands encased in your long sweater sleeves. But I think about it like a test I am about to take, I regard it seriously and with trepidation. It’s not that I don’t find it beautiful, but I am not ready, will never be ready, for winter, and I don’t care for the purgatory after summer fades.
I took summer and sun for granted when I lived in California and since I have been here I have doggedly pursued that characteristically Portland-y outlook which celebrates dark skies and rain and doesn’t seem bothered that it’s windy and under 45 degrees most days. I have not found that state of mind. Or rather, I have not found myself in it. It’s not the city’s fault for being born in the crack between two rivers in a valley not far from the ocean where clouds congregate and rumble and are productive, so active, most of the time. I still like it here and wonder how I could consider leaving, these friends, this vegan soft serve, these books. But since I have been here I have become a runner, and I have learned to run outside, in the blazing sun and in the dagger rain. I want to plant and nurture a garden, and to forget the smell of mildew. This summer I have spent more time soaking up the blessed sun than ever before, or at least in recent memory. I fell in love with the desert heat in Palm Springs and the way that searing air penetrated my exhausted and elated body. I ran 95 miles in June, almost all of them outside, for the feeling of the light on my skin and the brown thighs and the freedom of it. I know that being present means to accept things, such as weather, that I can’t change. But that seems easier to do under blue skies than grey.