Half Past Autumn Has Arrived*

Sometimes, in the daily rush of living, the little things slip by, barely registered by our eyes.

My mind has been a jumble of too much activity: A boss who’s moved to saner pastures, a baseball team coming from behind to win a world title, a wedding photographed.

Autumn has its fragrances: I remember the smell of my old grade school when we returned in September: chalk-dusty, old air, the sharp smell of the first mimeograph handed out. Sometimes the air would have a hint of burning leaves, and the baking bread smell from the Wonder Bread factory was fainter than in the summer.

As a child growing up in Jamaica, Queens, I confess I didn’t pay much attention to the changing seasons except as it involved school.

Now, as a middle-aged adult, I’m more aware of it, but I can’t slow it down. My seasons are invariably attached to holidays: I really need better milemarkers.

These leaves will finish their blaze and fall to the ground, followed closely by winter.

And that’s a good thing, this winter thing.

*Gordon Parks


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