Here in Pittsburgh, as probably in much of the country, it has been unseasonably warm, and today is one of the first days when I felt a moment when I thought I was really kind of cold. Today is the first day that I got in the car and turned on the heater, and I have the heat on here in my apartment as well. And, I had been feeling somewhat cranky after coming home today and something about it being cold made me feel better. It is interesting; I hear many people tell me that they are very fond of autumn. Why is that. I thought it was just me disliking all things that seem otherwise popular in the American psyche -- I figured that the majority of the populace was all for the good ol' summertime-- but no, I actually have some company in my anticipation of the end of summer. It's almost a relief. But you know, I'm ambivalent about it as well because there is a sense of dread -- I don't like seeing the vegetation die and I don't like seeing the trees go bare. But something about Fall, and even about winter, is so compelling. Maybe our relation to the seasons is just a small-scale, cyclical reflection of our general relationship to time. Always pushing forward, even when the present is OK, and we may have so much to lose in the future (like, uh, warmth). Umpteenth Camus quote, not quite verbatim -- "Tomorrow, tomorrow is what he yearned for, when everything against him ought to oppose it."
Well, the reasons for liking cool weather are not completely absurd. Hot weather is well known to make people cranky. Extreme cold does it as well (try spending a night at a homeless shelter in Minneapolis in the middle of January) but heat is really the mood-buster. Physical activity seems to get easier-- it's a great time to run in road races. And many of us are just more pleasant to look at when we're covered up with long sleeves and long pants. Especially those of us in academia. We all look horrendous in shorts. I'm sure of it.
I'm not a huge fan of watching sports but I'd rather watch football and basketball than baseball.
Pumpkin. Yesterday I horribly, indulgently partook of a pumpkin muffin from Einstein's that had icing on top. That was lunch. Mmmmm.
It seems to get quieter, as it gets colder. People at least roll up the windows on their SUVs as they play their thumpetythump music. Sometimes the quiet is so nice I could almost cry. It's important.
And, what is a change of seasons without Eliot. Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers (is pumpkin a tuber?) There is something about having a pervasively uncomfortable atmosphere that you regularly escape from. You snuggle under covers, under your sweater, in front of your space heater, with your hands around a coffee mug. Everything is a source of comfort and your creature needs are forever met because you're so constantly conscious of them.
Once some winter in St. Paul when I was a work-study student with the easiest job ever at the Macalester College Alumni House I was sitting in the kitchen, looking at magazines and catalogs. And there was a catalog from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. And on the cover there was this picture of children playing in the snow. And it was, of course, all wintery outside so the image was consistent with the current weather. And, I don't know what it was, I was just captivated by that image. And as I got distracted from whatever grunt work I was doing for whatever undergrad class I kept looking away, at the cover of that catalog. I still cannot tell you what attracted me to that image. So, I found it on some French website, it's a photograph by Edouard Boubat, whose name I cannot even pronounce, and I've never heard of him before. One day we may regret that Google allows us such instant gratification in finding those things we thought were lost. But for now I'm enjoying it. Here's another Boubat photo I found:
That is all. I have to work on an assignment for Monday and I'm procrastinating like a pro. Everyone have a nice weekend.