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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The east wind

       When I arrived in Buenos Aires at the beginning of February, it was the middle of summer. Literally. A month and a half after their summer solstice, it was hot. I biked to class with my shirt in my backpack, wearing jean shorts and blue sunglasses. I came back from long-runs at 9 o’clock at night, dripping in sweat. It was awesome.
        It’s fall now. The trees are dropping their leaves, and I actually wear more than one piece of clothing when I run. Autumn welcomes fond memories of cross-country races in high school, fall crops from the farms, and Vermont’s brisk morning air that rushes into your nostrils as you greet the day.
        I’m skipping spring this year, interestingly enough. I will not experience a vernal equinox in 2012. I’ll have lived through fall three times in a row, and while I’m not complaining in the least, something is missing. I can’t plant tomatoes. For a year, the days will neither progress toward being warmer nor longer.
        When the east wind sweeps into Buenos Aires, the heavy air lifts and breathing returns as a gratifying simplicity. It’s a sea breeze without the salt air, and it’s much like New England.
        Smell, sight, and the rest of our senses are what give us our memories. Though seasons are relatively long periods of time, after twenty cycles of winter-spring-summer-fall, I’m finding myself stuck in my ways. Can you blame me?

        Studying for midterms while everyone else is cramming for finals, and finishing my base and racing 8ks while the other runners are finishing their track seasons and starting their time off detaches me from the northern hemisphere. In an age so connected via facebook, twitter, email, and what have you, being the exception gives me time to think for myself. A lot. I take what I may from the rest of society, but I process it differently than I did before. Nothing is really as it seems at first glance, and I’ve gotten a lot better at stepping back, and thinking before I start, say, or write something. Re-living autumn gives me a chance to re-live a semester, in a sense. While I experience the new, I also jump over that which comes closer to being normal…that which I would have emerged from as a completely different person.

        In August of 2012, when I start another fall semester, it will be #3, and my last as an undergraduate. Three leaves in a row I’ll have turned over. That’s a lot of leaves to turn over in eighteen months, considering that these are catalpa leaves of sorts (they’re big). At the end of these four years, I’ll feel a lot older than I did in September of 2009. Seize the day once, and there you have it. Seize the day always, and you write your future.

        People say that college flies by like an amazing summer. It most certainly does, but the speed with which it flies is completely under your control. If you fill your time with great memories, good people, and life-changing experiences, that first day of freshman year will seem a lot farther away than it would otherwise. If I were given the chance to tip off my 18-year-old self…to give him advice, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Eurus greets my door,
this autumn morning.
“On with it!” he sings.
I pay heed, but what for?

Stop to ponder and wonder but gain no moss as you roll
alone and in good company differ they do not,
for you
are but a sole part
of their existence
as they are of yours.

Slip the cracks, he tells me.
Grab my hand but let me go,
for fall we will, as one...
windswept, wild, weathered, and free.

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