Tag Archives: seasons

Sweat

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It’s summer. This should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, it’s July, and while that may mean chilly temperatures for our friends in New Zealand, here in Southeastern America it means heat.

Heavy, sticky, disgusting heat.

Heat that seeps through the drywall. Heat that no car AC can hope to defeat. Heat that filters in through unshuttered windows and hovers above leather seats and steering wheels.

The South is humid. Unlike the West, where the air may be hot but remains breathable, the perpetual 50% humidity of the South turns air of any temperature into barely inhalable soup. Puddles from occasional rainstorms stay for days, and sweat has nowhere to go.

Summer in the South means you never. Stop. Sweating.

Okay, maybe normal people do. I don’t.

Something happened to me when I started my 20s. Something awful. I used to be one of the few teenagers that never, ever got a pimple, glistened vaguely during workouts, and smelled like a flower garden 88% of the time. But my 20s hit and boom, acne and buckets and buckets of inexplicable sweat.

I suspect I have some rare breed of adrenal issue that I might just have inherited from my father. We both have issues with heat. My father and I both start feeling uncomforatbly warm at around 70 degrees (that’s 21 degrees for my friends in New Zealand). We start dripping sweat at 75. Eighty and we’re swimming in our own natural coolant. Ninety and we’re drooling over travel brochures on northern Russia.

I seem to have an added complication to my sweat issue. I sweat when in situations where I have to socialize with strangers or even acquaintences. I sweat at parties. I sweat when I get in front of people to speak, sing, or otherwise perform. I sweat if I sit still too long. I sweat when I stand too long. I sweat if I have to wait in line anywhere, especially government offices. If you see me in any social context where I am thinking of the next thing I have to say, you’ll probably see me with my hands tucked under my arms, not because I am nervous or emtionally gaurded but because I’m trying to gauge just how large the sweatstains under my arms are growing and at what rate and what on earth can I do to hide them.

And that’s just in the fall and winter. In the summer the nightmare gets about 1000x worse.

My poor long-suffering spouse spends his July evenings in flannel pajamas burrowed into a pile of quilts while I sprawl out in shorts and a tank top next to our window AC unit which is allegedly blasting 60 degree air while my sweat glands remain unconvinced. (That’s 15 degrees for our friends in New Zealand.)

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Just buy some antiperspirent deoderant. Problem solved.” Yes, sure, but only if they manage to put it in a spray bottle and in large enough quantities to coat my whole body in it every day from May to November.

Or, as an alternative, I could just relocate to a different climate for the summer months. Somewhere like New Zealand.

 

 

 

Summertime

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It’s not summer yet. But I feel the change rippling through the air.

There’s a distinctive sound of cricket song making the air shimmer at night.

The sun hits the leaves just right at dusk and makes them glow green-gold.

The air smells of memories. You know what it’s like, smelling a memory? You take a deep breath in and suddenly you forget your age and remember what it was like to wake up on Saturday morning and notice the dust specks floating in the air and nothing else.

The sun hits your skin and makes it ring at a specific frequency. Suddenly you’re browner (or pinker) and freckles flicker into view like stars at sunset.

And the air feels heavy. Heavy with oncoming storms. Heavy air wet from rain and children clambering out of swimming pools for ice cream.

Heavy with possibilities. 

It’s Beginning

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Apologies to The Smaller Half, who already mentioned this in his post tonight. But, right now, considering the startling and sudden drop in temperature, I can think of nothing better to say than “baby, it’s cold outside.”

Someone turned on winter. We barely got much of autumn—and now it’s winter.

I will count my blessings, though. The leaves were, in fact, gorgeously colorful this year, as my father predicted. They fell like confetti in a parade, forming leafy tornadoes around my feet as I shuffled from place to place, so surprised by the onset of winter that I didn’t come prepared with a coat.

It’s always pretty apparent when Winter walks in. Autumn Floats in gently, laughing as she comes, running her fingers through the trees and making the world turn firework colors. She’s nutty and giggly and a fairly lighthearted soul.

Winter, though. Winter’s different.

Winter blusters. She has a sneaky smile on her face, and has a mischievous sense of humor. She rattles the acorns from the trees and blows though the leaf piles that were so tidily raked the day before. She pulls a grey curtain over the sky and lingers longer than her welcome really ought to last.

But she is kinder than she’d like you to think she is. Occasionally, she brings snow.

Snow can be an inconvenience. It can even be dangerous. But it is beautiful, and it means canceled classes if there’s enough of it. Snow means a good excuse for hot chocolate and staring out the window and forgetting, for a moment, that you are twenty-one. For a moment, you can remember what it’s like to be six, and there’s snow outside.

I rather miss being six.

Winter is funny about bringing up the past and reassuring you that the future may be chilly, but there are still places of warmth, somewhere, in this wild and wacky world. 

Dear Autumn,

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You can start now.

I mean, I know you got here a few weeks ago. Your entrance was lovely—clear skies, cool breezes, the sun even shone differently.  We were all so excited to see you that we wore our sweaters and bought pumpkin spice lattes.

And then—well, honestly I don’t know what happened. You stopped doing your fall thing.

It’s all humid again, Autumn. The sun’s far too hot for October, and the leaves are barely turning colors. The crickets are still chirping solemnly in the bushes—they should have moved on by now. It’s practically summer still.

Is something wrong? Are you sick?

Did we do something to offend you? Whatever it was, I’m so sorry.

We need you, Autumn. Come back. Summer’s been too long—we need your crispness, your blue skies, your silent, early evenings, your clear stars.

Please, Autumn. We’ve waited so long.

 

Sincerely,

Risabella

 

and everyone in Anytown. 

Autumn! It Is Autumn!

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If you ever had a childhood, you probably watched cartoons and animated films. It’s likely that most of these cartoons were Disney products, since those tended to be the ones of the highest quality (and had the best marketing), but there have been a few put out by other animation studios that were of the same caliber. One such film is Thumbelina, an animated adaptation of the fairy tale by the same title, produced by 20th Century Fox in 1994.

Thumbelina is probably my favorite non-Disney animated film. The songs are excellent (it’s impossible not to like “Let Me Be Your Wings”), the animation is top-notch, and the story is about as emotionally believably as a fairy tale can get. It traces the story of a girl named Thumbelina, so named because she is as tall as a thumb. Her mother was childless and wanted a daughter very badly, so a fairy-godmother-figure gave her a magical seed. The seed grew into a flower, and when the flower opened, there was a tiny little girl hidden inside the petals—a fairy without wings. The years passed, the little girl grew up (as much as she can be said to grow up) to be very beautiful. Her beauty attracted the attention of a young frog, which fell in love with her and kidnapped her. The whole story traces her long journey back home, aided by a colorful cast of characters.

One such character is Jacquimo, the singing sparrow. He is probably the story’s most endearing character, since he is so instrumental in getting Thumbelina home, and has many memorable lines.

Every year, on the first day of fall, I think of this comical sparrow waking up in a pile of leaves, stunned by the sudden arrival of the new season. He looks past the fourth wall, exclaiming to the audience, “Autumn! It is Autumn!”

Today is the first day of fall. The sun shone differently today. The sky was bluer and crisp-looking, as though it had been washed of all the accumulated grunge of the summer and then ironed out and rehung above the clouds. The green of the leaves looked preemptively golden. The air felt newer today, and I knew for sure that fall is on its way.

Fall, and all the beautiful things that come with it.

Like that sparrow, I stepped out of my dorm and exclaimed in shock, “Autumn! It is Autumn!”

It’s finally here.  

Autumn Girl

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Come home, autumn girl,

to our summer hills.

Paint them gold, and put frost

on our windowsills.

 

Bring with you barrels

of apples and oats

and reason to air out

our stale woolen coats.

 

Don’t wait, autumn girl—

The sky’s tattered and old;

needs a fresh coat of paint,

more of blue, less of gold.

 

Wear your suede loafers

and pumpkin-orange tights

to stroll in the chill

of those first starry nights.

 

It’s time, autumn girl,

for the year’s better half—

full of harvest and hearth and

the sound of your laugh.

 

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Flight of Fiction (15a)

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It was autumn in Berasia.

Kharador, the Golden City, was living up to its name as the trees shed their greenery for the rich yellow garments of fall. Smoke from the city’s chimneys mingled with the increasingly crisp air as its citizens traded their linens and cottons for wools. The Dogs roaming the streets wore thicker coats than summer would allow, and everywhere there was the spicy aroma of roasting apples.

It was the time of the banners. Blue and green banners, embroidered with the Golden Fox, fluttered from every arched window and lamppost and beneath every bridge and covered walkway. Little girls wore blue and green ribbons in their hair, giggling with excitement as they ran to the schoolhouses, beating their miniature tambourines, leading their Dogs by their leashes.

Up and down the street, stone-faced city guardsmen sat erect on their great grey Wolves which loped easily along the cobblestones, making the usual rounds. Even they wore green and blue armbands around their thick wrists. Steam puffed from the Wolves’ nostrils and over their great lolling tongues: clouds of warm mist in the chilly early morning air.

Blue and green and gold were everywhere.

Beyond the island city walls stretched the shimmering lake, which reflected the clean blue of the sky in the shards of its icy waters. The first of the ships were beginning to pull away from the city for the distant Berasian shore, their white sails fat in the steady breeze that ricocheted from the craggy city walls.

Within and without, the men and women of Kharador began the business of the autumn day, looking down at their hands or into the eyes of their neighbors, only looking up to check the placement of the sun or admire the fluttering banners glinting in its light.

They did not see the shadow running along the top of the turreted walls of their beloved city. The shadow whose dark hair streamed behind it as clouds of steam escaped from its lungs in the fiery exertion of an early morning run.

They did not see the Guardian. They never did.

(To my faithful readers: character scene requests? Who do you want more of–Nayr, Nacjar, Enilor, AIleen? Let me know in the comments. Thanks.)

Wait…

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…it’s March?

When did this happen?

I was just getting all used to February, and now we’ve got to change months? What’s up with that?

March is always a weird month for me. It’s always the last full month I have of being whatever age I am at the moment. It’s the weird month where Winter sort of half-packs her bags and thinks about moving out, but kicks up a fit every time you suggest she might have overstayed her welcome. The flowers come out, but it’s still chilly enough to whither the skin on your hands and require the use of sweaters.

I’m not over-fond of springtime. Early spring is fine, before the heat and the pollen settle in to stay for the next three months. Early spring in Anytown is cool, pleasant, and green, and makes me want to abandon my shoes by the nearest tree and march through the green grass, letting my toes taste the delicious newness of life that’s springing up under my feet. Maybe that’s why it’s called March. Maybe that’s why it’s called spring.

However, after that point, spring becomes full-fledged, sneeze-inspiring spring. After the first few warm days and warm rains, spring ceases to be fun for me.

My conception of time is the opposite of most people’s. I know that traditionally, spring has always been associated with rebirth and new beginnings. To me, however, spring is always the beginning of the end. Spring means parting ways. Spring means departure. Spring means the conclusion of happy days.

Fall always makes me think of beginnings. Fall leaves me optimistic about life. The air has the taste of newness, and the sky doesn’t look clearer or bluer to me than the way it does in fall. Fall means new opportunities. Fall means new friends. Fall means “hello.”

But spring always means “goodbye.”

Maybe this is because of graduation. The closer I get to the end of college, the more friends I see leave, scattered to the four winds—and never come back. In high school you were at least fairly certain that you’d see the same set of people the next year after summer break was over. But now, summer comes and goes, and new faces come, but fewer and fewer old faces return.

That’s the way it goes, I suppose. After all, one day I’ll leave, too.

Still. Spring is on its way, which means I must arm myself with boxes of tissues and hours of fiddle music. Winter’s time is almost up. Spring brings its share of joys, and I’ll embrace them. Dance through them, if I have to, just for the sake of dancing.

Hoodie Weather

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Fashion makes me laugh. Every time I see a magazine spread or an advertising slot that introduces the new, the exciting, the brand-named and celebrity-endorsed (with the subsequent scary price tag) I just laugh.

Here’s why. I see things that are insanely impractical; either that or horrifically uncomfortable. I see skinny pants, platform heels, pencil skirts, stilettos—all things restraining and tight and usually only look good on people who don’t eat. “New for Fall!” my foot.

Anybody who lives in an area like Anytown (i.e., anywhere where the seasons change) knows that the coming autumn brings a coming chill. We welcome nights that smell of burning leaves and the dying spice of summer. Nights that echo for the lack of cricket song. There are apple pies and leaf-raking and the sudden need to layer.

So when people advertise these cute but impractical skinny tweed skirts and pencil-thin corduroys, I laugh. I laugh because those who want to enjoy weather like this do so in well-worn jeans, comfy sweaters, and faded hoodies that win you over on the sole basis of their innate comfort. It’s hard to take a ramble through the autumn leaves in a pencil skirt and heels.

This, my friends, is hoodie weather.

Sure, I own one little black pencil skirt that I wear when I feel a preppie day coming on. But for the most part, I choose something that isn’t so uncomfortable that I can’t relax and enjoy the awesomeness of autumn.