It’s a quiet evening in the gentle weeks of early autumn. A choir of crickets hums into the darkness and the softly falling rain responds with muted applause as it taps the treetops.
Autumn always makes me nostalgic. There is something about the slant of the sun, the mellow light filtering through auburn leaves, that brings wistful memories of childhood flooding back. I long to touch those moments again, but they just wander like harmless ghosts through my mind. You can’t go back. Can you?
I went to my twenty year high school reunion this past weekend. Well, actually, this was the second twenty year high school reunion I went to this summer/fall. I guess that’s one of the perks of having gone to three different high schools.
In a way, it did feel like going back in time. I found myself overcome with the exact feelings I had when going back to school each fall – the excitement to see old friends and familiar faces, and the ever-present dread at the thought of facing another year. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to feel that so strongly after twenty years, as if I’m still the same shy, sensitive girl I was back then. But let’s face it, I am.
We are who we are, and I don’t really think that changes much over time. I find that very comforting. Still, time slips by and we all get older. I am saddened when I think of fading youth and aging parents. I look at old photos on the wall of the home of my childhood friends, and grasp at those moments where time stands still, perfectly preserved, matted, framed.
I can’t help but compare the high school photo on my reunion name tag with the image reflected back to me in the mirror, but I can’t objectively compare and contrast. I feel prematurely aged for many reasons, like an old woman living in a young body, largely due to illness and a love of BINGO and Johnny Mathis. I am hopeful that my body will recover someday soon, but I know my tastes never will.
The leaves on the trees are starting to change color, like a blush creeping across the forested landscape. I try to savor each day of this fleeting season, holding them in my hand like a tiny treasure, holding them in my heart like an old friend.