Climate

Missing Fall

5:26 PM

I was born and grew up in a corner of the world with 4 distinctive seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, each with their very specific attributes. Naked trees and snow in Winter, light green fresh leaves and blooming trees in the Spring, vibrant greens, warm long days (sun sets at 9pm) in the Summer, nature in rust and gold tones in the Fall.
FALL, probably my favourite season of all, first because September is still warm enough, and October still full of sunny days, but mostly because the air gets that special quality and the leaves turns every shades of red, brown and yellow, within week and the landscape is turned into a kaleidoscope of hues warming your eyes and heart before the harshness and darkness of Winter to come. 
Yes I grew up to that rhythm,  schools had projects for each seasons: making snow men out of cotton pads, silk paper flowers in the spring, crafting a sun out of picnic plates and yellow craft paper, making falling leaves collage in the Fall.
As I grew up I of course learned that not all region of the globes have the same season cycles, I even travelled enough to somehow notice it a little, that said, travelling for 2-3 weeks and glimpsing it isn’t the same as living the change.

And change it was, moving to India not only was the culture different, life moving a different pace, it didn’t take me long to notice that in South India trees stay green year round, and that seasons do not mean the same, Summer occur in March until June-July, then it’s the monsoon, then a dry albeit still warm period that is referred as Fall by some, and Winter that last from December until February. The only markers being : insanely hot and humid, cooler and downright wet, dry and warm to cool depending the region (Mumbai being insanely hot and humid in October) and then dry and cold (yes cold!), visually the only noticeable marker are the dark clouds in the sky during the monsoon.
Of course after a few years in the same place, you notice that some trees bloom at different time, and you find a visual marker of passing time and nature cyclic changes again.
But life as you knew it is missing in action, your friends back home and in the northern temperate hemisphere start posting picture of trees changing colours in Facebook, talk about racking leaves, decorating the house with pumpkins and rust tones, those in US are starting to plan Halloween, while my own status line might read something like “finally storing the umbrellas away”, or “went to the beach this weekend” or like one I just wrote recently “Winter please come” which probably sounded like a very funny request to all my friends, as they are probably asking for a longer Fall season with a few more warm days before the snow hit. 

While for me reading Fall status, seeing fall pictures and hearing of pumpkin pies brings back some nostalgia and a hint of homesickness, once upon a time all this was my world, my steady constants, my rhythm of life if you want. And while I surely do not miss Winter that much as I hated the cold and long dark nights, or even spring with it’s unpredictability and a body struggling to get out of a hibernation mode it never slipped into in November, or even Summer with its haze and few storms, Fall in all it’s flamboyant  vibrant splendour is dearly missed.

A few years in Bangalore however had me slip in a new comforting seasonal cycle of hot evenings spent on our terrace or balcony eating ice cream, watching the rain falls from the porch or listening to it in bed with a good book and some tea during the monsoon, welcoming back our sweat pants in the Fall, and spending evening on our terrace in sweaters and thick socks in December.
The past year changed it all: Mumbai and it’s heavy gloomy super damp monsoon, Mumbai and it’s insanely hot humid and suffocating October-November leaving you beg for some cold air, Mumbai in December when you finally get your wish, take out your sweat pants, sock and shawl to go on the terrace and get cold, then sit down with a cup of tea and munchies. Then back in Bangalore looking forward to what you knew and enjoyed: the warm ice cream filled Summer nights, the cool refreshing monsoon, and dream of Christmas in sweaters…that part we know it never happened, we went back to the Mumbai cycle, of heavy downpour during the monsoon, soggy fabric and books inside, a month of September hinting at warmer days, and finally October where we are sweating away buckets, worshiping the A/C unit that was already installed in our master bedroom by the owner, and a promise of at least restful nights after a day of inferno, looking forward to the brief period of cooler days to come. Patenting until then with the rare thunder storms that can still occur like last evening and today, taking in the violent wind, rain spray and letting my eyes soak the lightning, a part of Fall that hasn’t changed between Geneva and Mumbai…

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