THE HORRIBLE SLANT OF AUTUMN

If summer is a floating barge, drifting slowly, splayed with friends and picnics and sunshine and nothing much, autumn is what happens when that barge hits the edge of the planet, and all of the fun and friends go sliding right off the edge.

Into what are we now sliding, if we have hit the edge of the planet??
This is exactly the horrible question that makes fall’s approach so terrifying.

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Like the inevitable descent of two stars into a predictable hollywood movie romance.
There is so much gravity pulling us into the seasons every year. We can’t decide to just avoid having fall in the Northwest this year, because we feel like it might be intimidating. It is just going to happen.

WAIT:
could it be possible that the phenomenon of global warming is actually an unconscious attempt by earthlings to have a sense of control over our environment? If one could interview the collective unconscious minds of the bulk of people who are responsible for emissions of greenhouse gases, would they collectively shout,
“WE ARE JUST SICK OF BEING BULLIED ABOUT BY THIS PLANET!
IT CALLS ALL THE SHOTS! PULLS US WHEREVER IT WANTS TO,
KEEPS US IN THIS SAME OLD RUT GOING AROUND AND AROUND
AND AROUND IN THE SAME PATH FOR A KAJILLION YEARS.
GETS TO JUST LAY OUT THE LANDSCAPE THAT WE HAVE TO LIVE IN!
IT’S TIME WE HAD A DEMOCRATIC SAY IN WHAT GOES ON HERE!
WE’VE DECIDED TO ACT UP!”
(Unconscious minds begin chanting) “NO MORE WINTER! NO MORE WINTER! NO MORE WINTER!”

And would this collective unconscious be choosing to do away with winter because, like me, it is terrified of the fall? (Presumably, we could do away with autumn, if we no longer needed a stairway to get from the glow of the summer down into the darker months of frost.)

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Someone should get some bumper stickers made that say ETERNAL SUMMER.
Ultimately, if I really weigh it out, I am more scared of the thought of mountains that don’t have any snow on them, than I am of the feeling of autumn. I believe, though, that if one is required to rank fears in order of potency, a fear of something that one has already experienced will trump a fear of something imagined. So in my file, I am more likely to respond to my fear of fall, which I have known before, than my fear of an eternal summer, which is something that scientists tell me is going to occur, but which I still haven’t ever really known.

And why does the fall even make me feel scared. I wonder if anyone else even feels the same way. To me, the air just feels kind of unsafe. I get a sense that anything could happen, and might, and that I don’t even have the imagination for how scary it could be. The sky seems to be yawning open more widely in the fall than at any other time.
I guess it’s just death. Everything dies in the fall, and I can feel it.

October 2, 2006

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