A Brief Attempt at Non-Negativity

Here in the Far North (or “Deep North” as my bloggy-friend Alyssa likes to say), we have fully entered fall. I imagine that it will all be over by next week. Which is very sad, but pretty typical. You see, here in Far North, we don’t really have “autumn.” We have about two or three weeks of leaves dying and falling, followed by a month or two of sparse, frosty brownness, and then we have snow FOR FOREVER. So fall doesn’t mean anything but that winter is coming. That’s a bright image, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve been ignoring it—I’m still wearing flip-flops. I’ve been refusing to acknowledge that the weather has turned colder, that the leaves are golden (which is really just media spin for “dead and brown”), and that the light is fading earlier and earlier every day. However, this morning on my drive to the brewing mental health issue that is my job, I happened to glance up at the mountains. And what did I see? Not a “premonition,” not a “hint,” not even a “dusting,” but a full-on LAYER of snow.

For a moment, I just stared. And then I did what any sane person alone in her car on the highway would do: I chuckled, gave a serious head nod to the mountains, and then said, “Well played, Far North. You win. Congratulations.”

So now it’s fall. Because I’ve said so. And even though summer is my favorite season—warmth, sunshine, and driving on clean roads: what’s not to love?—I will say that I am looking forward to making soup, readying for the holidays, and breaking out the sweaters and Uggs. Don’t judge me, they’re comfy. And I NEVER tuck my pants into them or wear them in anything other than a casual setting. Plus, they were hand-me-downs, so it’s not like I paid any money for the hideous comfort footwear.  Besides, I shouldn’t have to defend myself! I wear YOGA PANTS more often than any other pair of pants, so we all know where “fashion” lands on my priority list.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s move on, mmmkay? Where were we? Oh yes, fall. Like I said, I’m not really looking forward to the cooler weather, the icy roads, or the darkness. But there’s something so beautiful about a world blanketed in snow with the stars twinkling overhead, bundled up in front of a fire with a good book. I’m going to hold on to this idyllic picture when the blanket of snow creeps its way into my shoes and down the neck of my coat, the stars are twinkling at FIVE-THIRTY in the evening, and there is not time to read before the fire because driving from Point A to Point B will now take THREE TIMES AS LONG.

I’ve decided to think only like Norman Rockwell would think. Wait, do I have the right artist? I’m thinking of the guy who painted all the pastoral landscapey type paintings that make you feel nostalgic for any time period that is not this one. See, THIS is why I should have majored in Art History. I knew I would regret that someday. Anyways, I’m going to think like that guy, whoever he was. Because I think you have to be a pretty positive person to see the world that way and to paint that stuff. And I need to be more positive (I was totally going to write something like “I cannot be not positive anymore” just to make it negative, but I wasn’t sure how obvious that joke would be, so never mind).

So I’m thinking positively. I’m imagining Thomas Kincaid cottages bathed in glowing light. I’m holding on to the idea that snow is magical and beautiful and not a curse from the underworld. I’m believing that my car will magically stay on the road at all times, moving in the intended direction and no other. I’m loving the crisp, clean air entering my lun—HOLY MOSES, it’s cold out there! Am I going to have to scrape ice off my car windows this week?!

Crap. I guess that phase is over.

How about you guys? How is your fall going? What are you looking forward to doing? What are you dreading about the changing season?


  1. Well I am offended. I TOTALLY tuck my pants into my boots. I think it looks very pirate-esque. And I rather like booty. Wait. That came out wrong. Whatever.

    I know what you mean about the mental picture though. I went to Yankee Candle today and we spent a good 20 mintues smelling the smells of fall: pumpkin pie, almond cookies, spiced orange, cranberry, apple cider, banana bread, harvest...etc. Your mental image is one of well, images, but my strongest sense (and therefore biggest weakness) has always been smell. I associate SMELLS with time periods. No lie. Axe Phoenix throws me back to high school in an ex's arms, Midsummer's night candles to Germany because thats what my car smelled like, banana bread to Middle School in St Louis. Fazoli's to Denver. My current life smell is Old Spice, since that is what Boyfriend wears.

    I think you have spawned my next entry. Lol.

    Anyway, it hasnt hit fall yet here in Central Washington. I look forward to pumpkin pies and banana bread. I am looking forward to the winter and the new year so I can travel to Seoul. Dreading driving the icy, snowy, hilly Washington area. I am dreading feeling so fracken cold all the time.

  2. Sarah Pearson9/20/11, 3:38 PM

    I absolutely love Autumn. Here in England, it lasts long enough to make me happy :-)
    If we get more than two inches of snow our whole country seems to grind to a halt. It doesn't happen often enough for my liking.

  3. Well where I live in the far south, there is no such thing as fall or winter. I pretend there is, but basically it stays 80-90 degrees year round. Except for a few years ago when we have months of 30 degree weather, which, to those of us in the far south, is freaking freezing. This is my favorite time of year! I love decorating, I love the smells - I can't wait to light my fall candles - the food. I love it all!! Although if I had to deal with icy roads, I might love it a little less.

  4. I wrote a post all about smell being an avenue to memory. It was long and convoluted, but then again? When am I short and succinct? But half the fun of "fall" here is that the air smells so fresh and earthy. The problem is, your nostrils my get a little frosty, because "fall" here can be pretty chilly! :)

  5. I've lived outside of Far North and watched people go NUTS about a teeny-tiny bit of snow. It always boggles my mind, because I grew up with four to six months of knee deep snow and survived just fine. Plus, I don't think I ever trick-or-treated without snow boots, which completely ruins a costume, but that's okay, because you wear a giant coat over most of it anyway. So when schools get cancelled for a small flurry? I laugh.

  6. See, I think I would miss the season if I lived that far south. And not that I'm leaving Far North for the foreseeable future, if I HAD to move somewhere else, I'd totally go somewhere where each season is three months long, defined, and beautiful. Where is that, exactly?

  7. Fall is my favorite and always has been. I am sad that it doesn't last very long here, but this year has been particularly beautiful! I understand not looking forward to cold and snow, but there is something wonderful in that too. And Dad gets to play with the four wheeler and plow. He is like a little boy when he gets to do that.

  8. I live in Winnipeg. It is in the middle of the prairies with strong winds and no mountains anywhere. Hardly even hills. It regularly gets to be -40C (which is also -40F strangely), which if you've never felt is a level of cold that is incomprehensible. Some years ago we had a horrific winter where it went to -55C. I am not kidding: the liquid in my eyeballs was freezing as I walked from the front door to the cab (because I sure as hell wasn't taking the bus). Winter here is so long, and dark, and long, and dark and you're right, it's winter FOREVER. I just spent the best summer this city has seen in more than 5 years on crutches sitting in my apartment being miserable. Yes, positivity is very important. It does make the rest of life a lot less stabby, but it can be such a challenge.

  9. I have experienced -40F. It is NOT pleasant. And you're right; it's not a kind of cold that can be easily described. I mean, once you get past -20F, it all feels the same until about -40F anyways. But then -40F? It's like your lung tissue hardens with every breath. I'm *so* glad that season is right around the corner...

  10. Cleats and Flip Flops10/24/11, 2:57 PM

    Well, it's almost November, which means it's almost Thanksgiving which means it's almost...wait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt...CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!!