In my imagination, it's almost always autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees in lazy, deliberate arcs, the wind gently nudging them along to their final resting place on the hard edges of curbs and the soft cushion of ash-green lawns. The air is becoming cooler, sooner. The night is falling fast.
In my imagination, winter is coming soon, so I must hurry. There are things that need to be said, and these can be expressed only when summer is a fastly fading memory, and the Canadian cold a quickly dawning reality. Snow is coming, but not yet. Frost is waiting, yet still covert. In between the haze of the heat of an August afternoon, where ice-chilled lemonade soothes the tongue and sweetly hints at a childhood dead and gone, I can drift in this autumn, and mourn the loss of summer, and dread the onslaught of ice, and find a delicate balance between the two, if only in words. But such a languid pause can only last so long, barely a moment, for if I remain static then something will be lost, something that means more than I can say, something that I am still hoping to locate, let alone present.
In my imagination, the seasons are constant, steady, cyclical in that familiar, Ontario way. Abroad, I am at the whim of unfamiliar seasons -- rainy and dry, damp and dusty -- that connect in no way whatsoever to what I know and hold dear. In the absence of my seasons, the ones that formed me, I must adjust. Adapt. Acknowledge that snow is a thing of the past, at least here, at least now. But in my head I can retreat, go back, examine the world through the prism that is most familiar.
In my imagination, life hovers between Halloween and all that comes after. (With winter invading, descending, ever so slyly!) All stories are autumn stories, poised between extremes. Behind there is the steady whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the front-lawn sprinkler, and ahead the crisply morbid crunch of shovel-on-snow, the dreaded crick-crick-crunk of frozen-lake ice rapidly giving way to the cold water beneath, but in between, in the middle, hovering, I can look behind and ahead, my soul neither summer nor winter, cold nor warm, constant or erratic. Yes, yes, I can hover, if only for a moment, in between seasons, at autumn's remotest edge, and delve into that place where stories live, and breathe, and whimper, and wait to be rescued.