Almost every day, unless I am ill or traveling, I drive along The Esplanade.
This week, I’ve caught myself holding my breath, thinking “wow,” and “thank you.”
Fall is my favorite season.
I don’t get tired of crimson, amber and umber – or other colors that have common names like brown, yellow and orange.
If the air is chilly, my windows of the car are rolled up tight. The view prompts me to turn off the radio, as if I will be able to hold more closely to the visual when there is no sound. The leaves whiz by my windshield with a silent soundtrack, and what remains hanging in the trees will glint in the whisper of the sun.
I know I’m not the only one wowed by what we get to see every day.
I landed a job at Chico State University, which puts me smack dab in the middle of glorious leaf land. (My plan is to go back to teaching as soon as someone will hire me for a class in August 2020).
At the college, you can wander all day in awe, and never tire of the fading colors.
I often overhear students who are new to town. They’ll say “Wow,” and “I can’t believe the leaves.” “I feel like I landed on the East Coast,” someone might utter, with or without an East Coast accent.
It’s nice to know when others share a common appreciation.
A few years ago, I saw some guy walking into the middle of the street on the Esplanade. There was a pause in the flow of traffic, due to a red light down the way. The guy snapped a photo and it made me smile to know someone simply had to capture that multi-colored moment.
It turns out it was Jeff Pershing. I recognized him because he has played his guitar in town for about as long as I have used a 95926 zip code. Somehow knowing we shared this simple appreciation makes me listen more closely to his music.
Alas, like spring flowers, chocolate-covered almonds and youthful skin — fall leaves are not meant to last. All it takes is one solid rainstorm and those leaves can hit the ground like propaganda flyers from a biplane.
As much as I’m excited that the leaves are lingering, there really should be rain by now.
I know I’m getting old because I hear myself say things like “things just aren’t the way they used to be.”
When I was younger, and even a few years ago, I distinctly remember we would have rain by now.
By now I should be able to scatter grass seed in the bald spots of my lawn, and let the rain do the work of watering new seedlings.
By now I should be able to plant seeds for spinach and kale in my raised bed, then forget about the seeds until early spring. By now I am usually pressing poppy seeds into the cracks in the pavement of my alley, knowing the seeds will sprout and orange flowers will appear in the spring.
I tracked down an article on the Weather Channel Website https://weather.com/forecast/regional/news/2019-11-07-california-waiting-for-rain-fires-dry-fall. The article states the obvious: It hasn’t rained, and we should have rain by now.
The good news is that we can enjoy the fall leaves until Thanksgiving. For that, I will be thankful.
Maybe this weekend I’ll do some gardening. I’ll scatter some grass seed on the windshield of my car, and then rinse off my car while its parked on the lawn.