Saturday, September 30, 2006
Let the Seasons Begin! - Autumn 2006
Growing up in Southern California, there were no seasons, only variations on a single 75-degree day. In L.A., the only true indicators of fall were found in the TV Guide. Who knew of changing leaves when there was Must-See-TV?
In San Francisco, you knew it was summer when the wool hat, scarf and gloves came out and we again remembered Mark Twain's famous quote: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." While freezing my ass off waiting for the bus one morning, I recall reading about Georgia roads buckling in the unfathomable heat and internally noting the irony. Meanwhile, an exasperated woman also waiting nearby finally let loose to no one in particular, "My god, people, it's JULY!"
'Obviously, a new resident,' I recall thinking, noting that she had about eight layers on.
So, with great anticipation, I look forward to my first full year of complete seasons – the first ever in my life. Bring on the whole enchilada: the blasting heat of summer, the crisp golden colors of fall, the freezing snow of winter and the bountiful flowers of spring. The entire concept is strangely novel and I am ridiculously excited. At this point, I would easily pass up a celebrity sighting (it's shocking, they actually resemble real humans) for an overnight snow any old day.
My favorite season of all – autumn – has arrived in full force. My neighborhood (see photos) is exploding with vibrant colors that conveniently match my coloring. Any girl that came of age in the 80s had their colors done (I'm pretty sure it was government enforced, for awhile) and naturally, I was an Autumn. What some folks see as a time of death, I see as glorious opportunity for making soup, strolling through leaves and buying brown lipsticks. Let's not forget that there's some new TV shows to watch too. (Old habits die hard.)
To celebrate the first official day of autumn, my pal, Gins, and I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park to take in the changing Aspens and listen to the elk bulls do their annual bugling. Called "The Rut", it marks about 6-8 weeks of the elk mating season. During that time, they are everywhere – all over the park, in people's yards, walking down Main Street – something about being powerfully horny that makes the elk population less shy.
Watching these magnificent beasts arch back their great antlered-heads and screech to the world their incredible longing, we felt a tad invasive. As Gins joked, "Hi, um, we're here for the elk porn?" We did observe that, not unlike car alarms in human urban jungles, the bugling was entirely ignored by other elk but possibly served as a warning to the elk ladies that the evening's boisterous activities would resume once all the idiot pink humanoids left the park. As the ranger put it after one particularly fierce bugle, "He's saying, 'Get ready, baby. I'm coming for ya.'" (Sigh. Would that I were horny only once a year – certainly would simplify matters. In fact, I could also probably use a park ranger or some other official agent to supervise. Perhaps in the next life?)
Anyway, there's something about an entire season being so radically different than the one before it that offers promise. I sense that each cycle will bring fresh hope, a clean slate and a new chance to rectify the myriad fuck-ups from the previous cycle. Being reborn every three months could do wonders for my life and brings me back to a basic philosophy: Change is good.