On Fire

Now I get it. I understand why everyone raves about the Northeast in the Fall.

Today, I woke up a little hungover from a surprisingly rambunctious Thursday evening. It’s Friday, and normally I don’t have many commitments. I tend to fill my Fridays with whatever needs to be done; meetings, appointments, chores, errands, etc. But today, I had signed up for an Adobe Illustrator course and needed to be at school by 10am. So I pulled myself together, after waking up later than I should have, and ran downstairs to the bus. It was later in the morning so there weren’t too many people riding, and I was able to snag a single seat next to the window. I pulled out my phone and proceeded to do what 90% of commuters do and fiddled with my Phone. Email, Snapchat, Timehop, Facebook, Instagram, the usual morning lineup of check ins. But as we chugged toward Central Park West, I had a sudden urge rise from the depths of my being. For no particular reason, I felt like I should look up from my little digital universe and face the world. As I did, I watched as the expanse of Central Park unfolded before me, just for a moment, before we descended into the tunnels of the transverse.

Maybe it was that moment of spectacular, colorful bliss on the bus this morning, or maybe it was the rising need in my soul to feel at home here, but after my class I decided to take a long walk home from the IFA. It’s a sunny, brisk, beautiful day. The crystal blue sky dotted by only a few perfectly fluffy clouds, as if Andy’s room was my backdrop.The leaves have turned and we now live in the momentary wonderland between Summer and Winter where the leaves on the trees glisten with a magical glow, while the ones underfoot add a deep crunch to the soundtrack. The air is chilled but not cold, and with each dry breath comes a revitalizing energy.

The marathon is on Sunday, and thus my walk was filled with unexpected detours and rerouting; but with my google maps safely tucked away in my bag, it was nice to just wander freely and let the wind, and the route closures, guide my journey through. I headed toward the Sailboat pond where I stopped to sit on a bench, in the sunshine, and watch passersby for a few minutes. I then wandered toward the Boathouse and the Bethesda Terrace. I walked by the street performers and the caricature artists and the rickshaw drivers petitioning for customers. I took a few photos for wandering tourists and took a few for myself of the changing leaves caught in the radiant, glowing, midday sun. My eyes got lost in the intricate patterns of the Minton Tiles and I proceeded up and around the pond, finally exiting the park at 77th. From there it was around Musuem of Natural History and down the brownstone lined streets, home, where I now sit in the magnificent shadow of my own changing tree, typing away at my window.

Walking through this city in the fall sets your soul on fire. There is such a freshness, such a brisk energy that radiates from the trees. The colors of fall themselves ignite a passion for being outside that I’ve never felt during this time of year before. In Southern California, fall to me meant football, and some of the warmest days of the year. The Santa Ana winds would blow and the Indian Summers would last until after Thanksgiving. In Washington, where I still feel my heart lives, the fall brings the rain and the leaves, while they do lite up ever so briefly into the most radiant oranges and reds, quickly become mulch beneath your Bean Boots as you trudge through the puddles. But here, there is something new about fall. Something clean. Something special. The world around you changes and a beautiful lens covers the city. And while my heart still longs and yearns for someplace else, today, it was resuscitated by this city on fire with Fall.

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