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Changing colors

Back in college I took a poetry class, and it was about this time of year when the professor sat us all down and said, “Okay everybody, your work this week is fine, but, goddamn, you’re all writing about fall! Crunchy leaves this, chilly air that, wooly sweaters blah blah. Loosen up!”

He was right. Everything we turned in that week just reeked of autumn, like the fall cover of the college’s magazine that always features serious, sweatered students walking through piles of brilliant oak leaves, passing a brick facaded building with golden-turning ivy crawling up its drainpipe. He told us to do something—anything—to get autumn off our minds for the following week’s writing: Get really drunk, spend all day in bed, watch surf movies until our eyes hurt. We could do anything, as long as it didn’t involve driving out to the wheatfields, god forbid, to look at the colors, or sipping coffe under an alder.

Here in Tucson, we don’t have Joseph’s Canada Geese or wodburning stove to mark the season. If we can be forgiven some seasonal indulgence in a place that actually has seasons, then surely we can’t let the final onset of cooler weather in Tucson pass without notice. John notes that Hurricane Javier, down in the Gulf of California, might have been the force we needed to push some cooler air our way. Since the storms that Javier brought our way, the nights have, finally, been quiet: For the first time in months, I have woken up in the middle of the night to silence, startled by the lack of noise from my cooler.

I have cleaned out and opened up the study again, the neat red room at the back of the house. During the summer, it’s too hot to use, so the room fills up with unfiled piles of paper, the old phone book, stacks of CDs, an old television still waiting for somebody to claim it. With cooler temperatures I can at last open the blinds, letting a little sunshine inside. Light filters back into the room, scattered by the lemon tree outside, and the days feel just a bit shorter than they did in the hot, muggy monsoon.