Originally Published in October 2017 edition of Rabelais Magazine
I miss autumn. The memory of the crunching leaves and slivers of crisp air running along my neck seem so familiar but of a different time. Autumn felt different when I was a kid. It felt more apparent as if it was making a mark on your soul, but now, autumn is nothing more then a weird summer or a weak winter. The red of the leaves are now a sporadic ochre with more green than before. The leaves no longer look as though they are a system of a changing season, more of a tree that has failed.
Maybe my time was spent differently. Mornings are now me wrapped up in sticky sheets inside my heated bedroom, years ago I would have been trekking across what felt like the whole country on my way to school. The icy air rippled its way through the sun-kissed streets. Our cheap, itchy jumpers weren’t thick enough to stop the air from seeping through. Maybe I used to feel the cold, now I only see it.
Or is it because I’m comparing my current autumn to a past one, a time before I knew what a crisis was. Before we burnt things that made our trees sick, a time where our actions hadn’t meet our footprints. Maybe the earth is broken now, and I see the evidence of a climate in changing, a time where the cold isn’t as cold and hotter is even hotter than before.
Or maybe a time of innocence, before I realised what a desperate state was. Before I understood I’d be without a job but with a degree, without a home but instead a roof, without security but with a family. Where I’d be left out in the cold to fend and fight for rights I didn’t even know I didn’t have; a right to family, a chance to live without oppression, a meal without the fear of the dollar. Maybe I was living a life where I didn’t see the world outside those cold streaks of weather, a climate other than red leaves and rainy days. A climate of hopelessness, a home of desperation where my future needed more than a degree, more than money and more than what I always had.
So maybe the air is not as thin, and we’re not as innocent, but our climate is us. The state of all us, we are autumn, and our trees are not the only things that are dying.