Sunday, October 3, 2010

Soliloquy on the Seasons

Sometimes I wonder if I left my sense of humor back in summer.

I’m smiling less. Brilliant, sun-soaked flowers are fading fast. Blues freeze to grays, and yellows burn to browns.

Fall is a season of fluctuation. The corners of my mouth seem to rise and fall with the weather.

“Don’t let the weather get you down,” says a friend. “Curl up with a book and some hot cocoa.”

Hot cocoa?

As a foreigner in Japan, I’m noticing the seasons change, but I can’t find my usual autumn comforts.

I’m a bit thrown off.

Sweet beans become my chocolate, figs my fruit of choice.

There’s an unidentifiable smell in the air. I can’t tell if it’s a flower at its peak or a plum tree beyond its prime. Winter looms too close for me.

When the wind blows, the leaves rustle at my feet. I’m callously floating, being blown around.

And then one day I ask my students what their favorite season is. Everyone always says fall or spring.

“Winter,” he says.

“Why?” I retort with an unconscious defensiveness.

“It’s peaceful time.”

“It’s A peaceful time.” But my correction seems less about correcting.

Those words are gnawing at me.

*            *            *

The days are getting shorter. My eyes linger a little longer on the sunsets.

The nights are getting cooler. I’m snuggling deeper into my comforter. I think there’s a print of my body in its folds.

I crave steaming pots of tea and soup.

As I settle into this new season, I have to shed my old habits.

There’s a hole where traces of summer used to dwell.

I’m slowly filling it with the Japanese version of hot cocoa and marshmellows.

Maybe winter can be “peaceful time” for me, too.


  1. The cool thing is that being out of your comfort zone geographically makes you reflect on it--it's the same but new too--whereas it's the same old same old you!

  2. also--really nice photo complements!

  3. the ikebana photos is funny!

  4. I really like the line "I think there's a print of my body in its folds." Great work!

  5. The thing about Autumn/Fall is its changing nature. And to be outside one's own familiarities, experiencing the changing of the tides so to speak, it can be overwhelming.
    Rest assured that "you have all that one needs to achieve happiness - your own mind." (A Tibetan lama wrote that.)
    I take comfort in my family and my home during these cooler/colder months. You may find alternative ways of seeing yourself through.
    I send hope, respects, and above all - happiness your way.
    May the chill in the air bite away only the fears and the uneasy from your face.

  6. Thanks for commenting! You guys are so sweet! Miss you.