The first time I saw a tree aflame in color after moving to Southern California, I was seriously flummoxed. I'd assumed that the generalizations about LA having no seasons were hard-and-fast, literal rules.
I was wrong. I mean, sure, people aren't ever going to flock to this region to view the fall foliage. For one thing, fall takes its sweet time around here; the trees don't choreograph their color changes in quite the same way they do back east. But they do change, some of them, even if only one by one, and that change still manages to pack an emotional wallop.
The past few weeks have been difficult, stressful. There are meetings and appointments to keep track of; there are continual tear-my-hair-out issues at school; there's a minor surgery for N coming up soon after the new year (minor in the official scale of things, major when it's your kid who's going under anesthesia). There are dips in my mood and peaks in my anxiety levels that will have to be addressed at some point, but need to be put aside for now in lieu of all the rest.
But for today, for now, there's stuff to be thankful for. And while I am--of course, indeed, don't doubt it for a second--grateful for family and friends, for a job and a roof over my head, for all the things I normally take for granted*, right this very second I am especially thankful for the warm fall day that just passed, for the walk I got to take this afternoon with my daughter (during which we giggled so hard she had to sit down to catch her breath), and for the fall colors that smacked me in the face, made all the hard things disappear for a little while, and made me catch my breath, too. In gratitude, awe, and love.
Happy day, all. Be thankful, and be happy.
*Tomorrow morning, while the turkey brines**, Baroy and I will be doing a local Race for the Hungry; our entry fee into this 5K run-walk will go to a local shelter, and we'll donate some canned and boxed goods when we sign in. In so many ways, I feel like it is almost literally the least I can do, and yet...it's something. So maybe it's not the least.
**Which it needs to do for about six hours, meaning I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to be sure I can get it into the oven in time for dinner. Whose stupid idea was this whole brining thing anyway? Oh, yeah...Never mind.