Monday, 24 April 2006

Crisp fall day.

This morning I woke up to blustery winds, dried leaves dancing across the yard and cold wet sunshine. It was below zero, a perfect fall day.

Which would be terrific but it's the end of April. Summer should be right around the corner.

I love fall. Part of my biggest plans for my garden involved fall plants like burning bushes for that gorgeous rich color to warm up your mood on chilly days. I have a collection of gorgeous sweaters and cord hats and coats, blankets and mittens that keep everyone warm. I love the light outside at 2 pm, baking pot roast in the oven and turning lights on even though the sun is still up. Mainly it's that feeling that it's warm in the sunniest places only and yet when you step into the shade you need a coat.

It's heartbreakingly beautiful and yet I can't find words to describe it for anyone to see it in their minds' eye.

Heartbreaking? Autumn?


I grew up beside the ocean. I was born within sight and almost touch of the sea, and have been a shell and seaglass collecting, sailing, swimming, living half on the sand and half in the water fool for all but the past 4 years. I lived and breathed saltwater. Hence the moniker. Everyone always knows where I'll be when I'm within reach of the Atlantic.

And when fall came, those hideous school years where from age 5 to age 22 I had to say goodbye to my days on the beach, well, it hurt. It physically hurt to leave. And while it's romantic to stroll the beach wrapped in a sweater, marvelling at how cool the sand is in the October gusts, it's not the same as being there when the sun is blinding and you can melt into a puddle of happiness. It was a hard transition. I hated school. School was a concrete obstacle between me and the ocean. I did what I had to do, gritting my teeth, staring out the window. Teachers, counsellors, parents and friends said I was a dreamer, not an academic. They shook their heads and gave me passing grades because I was a good kid who stayed out of trouble so holding me back wasn't much of a solution. Each June I threw my schoolbooks in the garbage and refused to discuss the forcible confinement ordeal I had endured.

And once again I had a few months to embrace Atlantica. Until the leaves turned red and the air developed that distinct chill. For some reason that feeling of heartbreak, knowing the end of the summer has arrived once again is a feeling that somehow is natural and comforting in itself, as if I can use that unique emotion as a jumping off point for a fresh start, a fresh winter ahead. Perhaps it's my psyche's final exhalation of a sun-filled summer and then the hatches get battened down once again.

Perhaps I only really breathe at the beach.

Looking back I see the dramatic streak has been lovingly cultivated for much longer than I suspected originally.

They say that this city has two seasons, summer and winter. Each is 6 months long and there is a transition between the two so rapid if you blink you'll miss it. My corduroy gets little use. It's wool or cotton only and I go from lopi sweaters and flannel-lined jeans straight in my strappy vintage swing dresses and barefeet.

Today I'm going to wear my corduroy overalls and a long-sleeved Tshirt and possibly even shoes.