Fall Fever

fallYip all you want about Spring Fever — Fall Fever is worse.  It plays mischief in your eyes with Van Gogh colours dancing in the trees to sad 60s songs.  It rustles crisp on shuffle footsteps that leave no evening echo.  Its dim light chilly is brittle on the breeze, and it speaks in long, muffled tones.  It wears knitted scarves and fat socks and smells like hot chocolate, steaming in the afternoon air.  It aches winter but touches your face with warm summer sun, like a treacherous lover teasing its escape.

As old as I am yet to get, I will never see September without back-to-school.  Stiff new paper; pens with all the parts; blunt pencils of virgin wood, waiting to be pointed; plastic instruments with purposes so academically secret they have never been revealed.  And books.  Heavy books.  Books that told me numbers were true and always acted responsibly.  Books that showed me that some things could be proven.  Books whose gone places and dead lives taught me immortality.  And books that lied — so cleverly, so carefully, so convincingly close to me that we became friends.

These were the books that jealously wouldn’t wait to be read.  These were the after school-books.  The week-end books when the world was too cold for walking but too soon for skating.  These were the books that were finished before any teacher ever assigned them.  These were the books that turned into libraries and later, with part-time money, into dim paint peeled bookstores, dusty with promise.

Fall Fever has a serious heart.  It is what once was — coming again on the low evening light.  Every year when the sun moves south, I hear it scratching its quill pen verse on the skinny wind.  I see the words and accumulating phrases and remember the books that brought me here.  The tales that told me, showed me, explained to me why we are all just souls — single, lost and divine.  Fall Fever remembers that for me.  And it reminds me that it is the stories we tell each other that gather us together against the wind.

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