D.C. has a habit of giving me false hope for a drawn-out fall.
Last year, just before the leaves changed their colors, a rain storm ripped all of the leaves from their branches. This year, just as the leaves were changing from green to yellow and yellow to orange, a hurricane left me with the bare remnants of autumn, and what appeared to be a warmish winter day. When I stepped out yesterday afternoon to meet a friend for a late lunch in the neighborhood, I was greeted by barren branches, sidewalks plastered with wet leaves and debris, and a truckload of utility repairmen that said “how’s your day, miss,” in unison.
As someone who really does love winter, I didn’t find this disparaging. But this is not the first time I’ve felt robbed of my fall. I mean, it is the time of year when everything turns my favorite color: orange.
I will admit that Sandy was my first hurricane — even though she wasn’t exactly a hurricane by the time she reached our city. The potential for the storm’s actual seriousness did not actually hit me until the wind started howling. I carb-loaded, filled buckets with filtered water, and kept my running headlamp in my sweatshirt pocket (I would have worn my bathrobe all week, but my roommates reminded me of a possible evacuation, so I put on “real” clothes. In retrospect, I wish I stuck with the robe). For the record, there was no logical reason for the carb-loading. I’m regretting that decision.
But Sandy didn’t rip all of the leaves away.
Unlike many people up and down the Eastern Seaboard, my house didn’t lose power or water, and for the most part, we spent the better parts of our days watching Friday Night Lights. And perhaps I was alone in my guilty pleasure: season one of Gossip Girl. Shh.
While freaking out was something that just happened naturally, cloistering myself in my home, at the command of the government, allowed me to do just that: take some time to myself. I haven’t had much of that lately, and I won’t have much of that in November.
Happiness, these days, is a day without errands. A Saturday night in. A morning run, and an ode to the season that has long since passed. Some things, like all emotions, do pass. A secret hand squeeze, a window leak, and an autumn lost to the winter. The winters have been long, lately, but it seems as though everything is still up in the air.