Thursday, December 02, 2004


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Autumn colors, everywhere. They splatter the backgrounds, exploding in furious blasts of tone and hue, warming the coldest hearts.

I've felt their warmth before, when in the shoddy cradle of my lonesome youth I sought solace in such things as nature.

The thundering beauty of a fall sunset. Magnified by an ample horizon, clear and vast, and lousy with gentle clouds. Trying to block out a body so strong and powerful as the sun, in vain, hopelessly futile jabs at immensity. Only when the sun sinks down into the swamp land, becoming one with the Everglades, does she truly disappear.

The trees don't lose their leaves, not like they do in other places. Oh, many make their way to the ground and clutter our storm drains. But our trees remain remarkably full and alive. Disappointing at times. I crave the full cycle. The impacting change of season with its merciless swings in temperature. Cold, heat, the in betweens.

We bookmark our moods by the seasons, inadvertently. It's hard to feel like it's Christmas time when you're still walking around at night in shorts and sandals. "How does Santa come in the house?" my daughter asks me, in a momentary state of panic, painfully aware that our house, like most South Florida homes, has no chimney. "He'll probably come in through one of the attic fans," I tell her, uneasily. Her look of disbelief makes me add: "He can squeeze into just about anywhere, you know. He'll get in here, don't worry. Even if I have to stay up all night and open the front door for him. He'll get in here!" She smiles and says, "Yeah, because who's gonna eat the cookies and milk!!!???"

In the winter we'll turn the A/C off for a few nights. Crack open the windows and let some of that moldy atmosphere out of the house. Pull down a sweater from the top shelf and brush off the dust. A few times.

But we won't be making hot apple cider or roasting marshmallows in the fireplace. I'm sorry my daughter has to miss that. I'm sorry she has to miss the outdoor glare and beauty of a white Christmas, and the comforting feeling of a warm household when you're coming in from the cold, peeling off layers of clothing. The frost on the windows and the sight of your breath, the numbness in your toes and fingertips from putting a snowman together or making snow angels.

It's hard to have it all, isn't it?

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