Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness…SOCAL STYLE.

4 Oct

Keats’  poem “Ode to Autumn” has always been a favorite: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness/Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun/Conspiring with him how to load and bless/With fruit the vines round the thatch eves run.” Autumn brings a particular kind of beauty–full, and rich like these succulents dripping with life.

Season of mist Bergamot plants dripping!

Fruition. A quality that anticipates the next stage. I don’t need to spell that one out; you know what I’m talking about.

Day of the Dead Noah and me

In September and October one is aware of temporality. A good time for nostalgia. For me, there is a particular poignancy to autumn: this is the season that my mother was born (late September) and died (late October).  Her middle name was Autumn (she always found that a little silly).

Thinking about seasons in Los Angeles is different than it was in Ithaca, New York, where almost every fall day, the leaves  were a little brighter..and then a little less, and then trees became bare.  The air would  heave some last hot blasts, intermittently blowing cooler and cooler until it stung your face. Back in Ithaca,  I tried to postpone closing the pool until October first.   Noah and I would stoke up the wood-burning sauna–which took an hour and a half–so that we could jump into the icy water and scream for 3 minutes. Our golden retriever Felix would swim for another ten, doing serious laps up and back, mostly silent except for a few official barks commemorating Season’s End.

It’s hard to know what to think about autumn in L.A., where Labor Day looks like this:

season of mist lady with umbrella

season of mist and mellow bikes at hotel

season of mist father and son

season of mist ladies in water

Santa Monica Labor Day Life. Not exactly the end of summer. But plenty mellow (and a little mist.)

During another September weekend, I hiked  Beverly Hills’ Franklin Canyon and came across this bucolic spot:

season of mist and mellow lake with ducks Ithaca

A lake! With ducks! Pine trees! Could have been late summer in Ithaca, right?!

Well, except for this guy:

season of mists Palm tree in Ithaca

Ray, let’s call him, would not cut it in Ithaca.

There’s not much that reminds me of upstate New York or autumn here, and yet I do feel keenly aware of the time of year: A few weeks ago, many friends celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which happened to fall on the same day this year as Eid– which most of my Saudi students celebrated. (I got dates and chocolate the day after the fast!) And there was that incredible lunar eclipse. Soon, I will turn off the AC at night; I might dig out a jacket from the back of my closet. And Halloween, my favorite Holiday, is coming! The snakes unleashed in the aisle of my local CVS indicate that:

season of mist snakes in CVS. jpg

On Friday, walking to the parking lot after work, I had a classic L.A. moment: I saw something surprising and weird, and I was delighted and a bit horrified:

season of mist heads in parking lot

No one was around. Just those dummy heads and me. End of a season WRIT LARGE, I decided, and descended into the 4 O’clock underground heat of the Westwood parking garage. Had a hard time getting those heads out of…my head.

The second stanza of  “Ode to Autumn” begins: “And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep/Steady thy laden head across a brook/…Thou watches the last oozings hour by hour.” A gleaner: a gatherer, someone who records. Yes, that’s autumn: recalling spring and summer in the face of winter. Collecting  memories of birth and growth. Appreciating every bit of ripe fullness oozing in the cooling air.

tutoring blog purple hill

Autumn SOCAL STYLE is a funny thing; it’s so subtle that it almost doesn’t exist. Kind of invisible. But, Dear Reader, I’m pretty sure I’ll feel it when Noah and Amanda and I go to DisneyLand for Halloween!? Nothing like Disney to tell you what the what is.

And I felt it this weekend–visiting Peggy in Claremont. Peggy and I knew each other decades ago, when we lived across the street from one another in Urbana, Illinois. On Sunday we woke up to cool air and rain.  Belatedly, we covered up her patio furniture. And then the next-door cat showed up. Undaunted by the wet,  the cat did not find the brown tarp to her liking.

season of mists kitty

This cat visits Peggy several times a week, asking for a head scratch and quick belly rub. I look forward to her visits when they coincide with mine. She makes me think of my mother, who was always visited by neighborhood cats from blocks away…

After a lovely cool and rainy day, I drove back to Beverly Hills, where there was a sky that Keats might have loved.

sunset urban in my alley

“Thou watches the last oozings hour by hour/While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,/And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.” So ends “Ode to Autumn.” There were, in fact,  some birds making end-of-day twitters, though you can’t see them in the photo.

So much remains invisible, nevertheless present. Twittering, oozing, watching. Gleaning.

Wishing you a fruitful and observant season, Dear Reader. Tell me “something autumn” that  you see, smell, taste, or hear this week?

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12 Responses to “Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness…SOCAL STYLE.”

  1. rexiceman October 4, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Beautiful writing.. Kirsten

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick DAlleva October 5, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    Well, this weekend was the Apple Fest on the new Commons, and the freshness walking around the Cass Park 2m path, and the Cornell rowers slapping lullingly (this was redlined as “alluringly”), and, yes, that lovely two night of moon show…how exciting that friends on both coasts could see it, write about it, howl at it.

    Thank you, Kirsten, not another piece of LA…I have Never Been…I may as well be a Martian….who are the two scary people in the picture at the beginning of your piece?…I really enjoy the picture and This piece seemed especially poetic as you set you words so poetically with Keats…Keats’ poems are so lovely…so your new piece of LoughingAloudWhilelivingplaying and writing to us about LA

    Thanks, NickNTyme

    Liked by 1 person

    • kwasson2012 October 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

      Nick,
      Thank you for responding with such great details of fall in Ithaca! Love the slapping lullingly. And it being corrected to “alluringly.” Right! Appreciate your reading!

      Like

  3. Mary Holland October 5, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    Autumn in New Paltz means that running through the orchard behind my house is now like drinking cider while breathing, though without effort. It always makes me think of Plath’s “Poem in November” and the yellow globes of fruit. Autumn also means the countdown begins toward ginormous heating bills, as we took out the window A/C units and fired up the furnace on Saturday. And the cats are back in the window seat, desperate for south-facing sun. I don’t remember registering autumn when I lived in LA. I think you have to have had practice in a place that really has it in order to notice it there at all, which explains your discerning eye in this lovely piece. But I am certainly it will be everywhere evident in Disneyland!

    Like

    • kwasson2012 October 5, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

      Love the notion of breathing cider, Mary. And also the cats positioning for sun. Thank you for reading and great comments!

      Like

  4. robinbot October 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    Okay, things you’re missing in this Ithaca Autumn: It has been gray, gray, GRAY. Not really all that wet, but that photo you think might resemble Ithaca in late summer – well, you are definitely spoiled by the sunshine out there. I have never seen a day as bright as that in Ithaca. And I’m hiking there 3 to 5 times a week.
    Also, it is tick season here now. Do you have ticks there? It is not pretty on my little white Havanese dog. And neither is all the mud. Indian summmer? The last blast of hot air before the whole of winter descends? Well, I’m still hopeful. So with all the twittering and ooozing, I think you have the better deal in L.A. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • kwasson2012 October 7, 2015 at 12:36 am #

      Robin,
      This is so funny! I hear your voice loud and clear! I was feeling nostalgic for Ithaca. Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. Thank you for writing! Come visit the strange paradise that is SOCAL…?

      Like

  5. Nic kate October 7, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    Audrey Autumn! Amazing, I did not know that👍🏼💀👹👻👽🍁🍂

    Like

  6. Rebecca Wilk October 10, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    I loved that so much! The poem between the musings was lovely, and the musings were spot on. I always feel kind of sad when Autumn starts, although I like it better than Winter. We are supposed to get loads of rain this winter, which should make things exciting and green. Have a great time at Dland! Be sure to go to the Haunted Mansion, which gets all Tim Burtoned up for the Holidays. Cheers!

    Like

    • kwasson2012 October 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

      Thank you for reading! Bring on the rain. I guess!

      Like

  7. Parveen Talpur July 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    Very well written Kirsten. Visiting your page after a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kwasson2012 July 13, 2016 at 1:55 am #

      I was pretty melancholy then. Not so much. Thank you for the compliment, Parveen!

      Like

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