upright toothpick collections

Maple trees lose their leaves early around here. There are a couple that I pass on my way to work that are already turning yellow and orange.

It’s been quite hot recently. And HUMID. I feel trapped when it’s hot and humid, even when I’m outside. It feels like I’m stuck in a tight lidded jar, filled with fog and left in a hot car. My cries for help simply bounce off the walls and are absorbed by the water vapor. Even if people could hear me, they couldn’t help because they’re stuck in their own humidity jars.

My solution is to dream of autumn, my favorite season by far.

There are two parts to autumn. Just hear me out on this one.


The first I’ll call “new autumn.” It’s the first few weeks of the season when the leaves are turning bright yellows, reds and oranges. The grass is still bright green and gardens are plump with ripe vegetables. You can wear a t-shirt and be comfortable outside.

The second part I’ll call “old autumn.” It’s been a couple months and the bright colors have faded to burnt reds and browns. Forests begin to look like leafless, upright toothpick collections. The grass has stopped growing and the air is brisk. Tuck your t-shirts away until April and put on a pot of coffee.

During old autumn, life feels as far from my humidity jar as it can get. Here in eastern New York there is always the possibility of snow, but the kind that only sticks to the grass and creates dark brown muddy patches underneath swing sets. “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” is asked out of courtesy during most conversations. “Well, that will be nice,” is heard shortly after.

My autumn is old autumn. It’s a season that’s reaches maturity and slips silently to winter. It’s curious that such a chilly season can make me feel so snug.



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