Sepia Photographs (2012-ish)

So I was going through some of my old files the other day, and this is something that I–at one point–thought was clever. It’s from my sophomore year of high school, and I have no idea what the prompt was supposed to be. The thing itself is almost a lengthy prose-poem. Since it’s the first day of December, I figured this is a good time to wail about missing autumn.

Of all the seasons, the one that I am happiest to meet is autumn.  Spring drowns the windows with torrential downpours, clings to winter’s wrath; the summer months drain the plants and people and animals of hope, forcing them to succumb to the heat and creep in the shade, dodging harsh solar rays; winter threatens to freeze the very soul with its malicious desire to halt all life that it encounters.  Of all these assailants, autumn is the most cordial.

Autumn captures the searing fire of the summer and shapes and softens it into breathable air, peaceful warmth and placid breezes.  It returns the gift of rain, the good name of which spring had taken in a spur of thievish nature, and releases hope into our loving hands.  Timid creatures filled with trepidation of another ambush cautiously slide out of their niches and glance from side to side.  There is nothing to fret over; the people are vivacious and dancing!

The harvest springs from the dark, fertile earth.  The ears are waving!  The chaff is clinging! The reapers’ automatons prowl on through the night, eyes wide and luminous in the long failed light.  Across the cooling concrete, over dew-slicked grass, framed by the casement, peering curiously at their progression is a child the night cannot defeat.  Sweet, fresh breezes stroke back my hair and will me to sleep.  At the end of the day, I find solace there, for:

The retreating sunshine is a spot light on my head; the rejuvenating grass is full of my footsteps.  The stone porch is still occupied every day by the child with wide eyes, staring at an azure sky.  Every insubstantial moment ticks closer the winter; none will ever stay.  I meticulously press them into my memory, etch them into my mind, fighting to keep them for the day of freshly fallen snow that finds me hollow.  Even months away, I am so carefully planning.  The clement weather does not dupe me; I can feel the ominous cloud stalking me as I dart through the weeds, over the bridge, to the cow lot.  A pulchritudinous calf with thick-lashed eyes gazes at me through the bars.  His intelligent eyes regard me with contemplation.  His mother lows nearby, answered by her herd from horizon.  I am content just to be.

Months, weeks, days fall away from my side. I am a desperado, stealing away the sun, squirreling it away so that that hollow, empty girl can have her share, enjoy her rations.  The winter bats at me, clamoring to be loosed on the world.  I love the autumn!  It is my safe haven, my ally in hatred.  I drink in the sun, absorb the rays, savor the warmth.  I work best under pressure, racing to catch the tail of the sun before it collides with the floor once more.  The winter is lurking in the crisp nights and skulking in the breezes.  It’s coming, but with the assistance of the autumn, I am able to laugh at its slowness.  I am too bubbly and awake and alive for it to reach me.  I am above the influence of the chill.

Carnivals pop up and fall down.  Children laugh, even students cannot frown! The warmth is still in our grasp, the promise to meet again closing in.  Still: shirts are the veils for shy shorts, sleeves are either hiding or criminally devising plans of cunning.  The brilliant trees flutter painted leaves; I giggle and wiggle my fingers back, misunderstanding the meaning.  Everything is covered in dust, even the air, but not the sky: it’s still blue, blue, blue.  The trees, the air, the sky give off a beautiful, dying perfume.  I close my eyes, breathe it in and . . .

Wake up on a frosted pillow.  I cower into my plush comforter (named so for a reason), tug it nearer.  I snuggle into its downy kindness, avoiding the horrors that linger without the window.  In my dreams, I glimpse a box of some kind.  It’s easily drawn near; I anxiously tear off the lid and peer inside.

The sepia photographs of warmth and light and laughter live inside.  In the name of conservation, I learn to become frugal.  I am a stingy child, unwilling to share with the world or to let them go.  They’re precious butterflies in my hand, bearing the name of autumn.


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