Autumn Yellows

Autumn 2012Ah! Autumn, the time where the city is at its peak of beauty, with trees bearing leaves that look more yellow than the cornea of a person with jaundice, garnished by the tinge of magenta that comes with the clear sky. William Yeats captured it well enough when he said, “The trees are in their autumn beauty, and the woodlands paths are dry. Under the October twilight, the water mirrors a still sky”. Its that time of the year when people put on sad excuses for sweaters and complain about the subtle cold that seems like devilish chills after the atmospheric sauna that was the summer

There are a few things I love about autumn. Firstly, the name autumn: it sounds like what you’d name the prettiest girl in the world. Maybe its just my inner linguist talking but any word that puts two vowels close together always gets my vocabulary juices flowing. Autumn sounds like the something good, something relieving, something that heals; it makes me want to make more of myself. Secondly, the leaves: Oh! The yellow leaves, which mimics the color of a jaundiced Caucasian. They are shiny and dry and amazingly half dead. And then they fall, fall to the ground in a swaying motion, taking their time to make sure every bit of their life was worth it. Like they are heading for eternal rest in the bosom of some amazing dry-leaf goddess that would take care of them for eternity. It likens to the resolution of a movie, the part where the bad guy finally dies and good prevails, the part where you get to understand the twisted mind of the antagonist, the part where the insecure girl falls for the captain of the basketball team, the part where the prodigal son returns.

Autumn is my favorite part of the year. It lies between a moment of joy and a period of work. It is the perfect transition from reward back to labor. It inspires me. That as those leaves fall, one after the other, I shed my skin, and I give away every bit of myself back to the world that has given me so much. It makes me see me the way I ought to see myself, as naked; that nothing lasts forever. That the glories which sprouted in spring and blossomed in summer have faded away and once again I have to earn the right to be who I want to be. That I can’t be perfect no matter how hard I try. That no matter how much I blossom, there are just some things I can’t fight against. It reminds me that I am indeed insufficient. That I have limits and that the leaves with which I shield myself will one day turn yellow and fall away.

Best of all, it reminds me that it’s time. Time to work hard to make my leaves grow again, time to settle down and protect myself from the fiery winter, time to go into the dark and study hard, and most importantly, time to prepare to blossom in the upcoming spring. Because I have now come to see that the joy of success beats the pain of the process anytime, any day.