26 September 2008

Passages and the Rain

Rain, again. I mean, tonight. It started last night and has fallen nearly all day. And it's supposed to stop and start again tomorrow.

It's not as windy as the forecasts said it would be. But the wind, of whatever speed, drives the rain into your face, your eyes, and sinks its chill into your skin.

This is definitely the first autumnal rain. This is when you know that summer is really gone, and that any warm, sunny day after that is just an interlude. How they still get away with calling it "Indian Summer," I'll never know.

Somehow, on a cool, rainy, breezy night like this one, it really feels like the season has changed, irrevocably. Why am I making such a big deal of it? Most of this summer wasn't particularly memorable: I did lots of boring work and felt as if I had absolutely no reason to work in education.

But August included the sorts of "little things" that make a difference. At least they do, for me. One was reclaiming, for good (I hope!) my original last name, with the first name I chose for myself because my mother would've given it to me if I'd been born to an "F" on my birth certificate. And I kept my original first name--which is also my father's first name--for my middle name.

This is the first time in my life I've had a middle name. Not that it would matter, except that it's one I've chosen, as I have with my first name.

And, of course, there was the time I spent with Mom and Dad. I guess you could say I felt more like a daughter because they were treating me that way. Maybe that is why I came away from that visit feeling closer to them than I can ever recall feeling. I know it's pointless and even harmful to hold on to feelings, and sometimes even memories. But this one, I really don't want to let go of. It's even better than how I felt after getting my first poem published, or making it to the top of l'Alpe d'Huez, le Col du Galibier, il Colle d'Agnello, Aubisque, Hautaucam or Portillo.

All those climbs were conquests, really. Which, as I've said before, is a form of alienation: The conqueror never becomes a part of what he or she subjugates, and vice-versa.

And this rain, the end of the season, the beginning of a new one: There is no way to conquer these. Maybe that's the reason why I am so affected by them. And by the sea, and all of its rhythms.

Anything that finds its way to my spirit is something learned, truly. Those things called experience are only memory stored in the mind, in the ego. The sort of summer I would have wanted at another time in my life: a bike trip in Europe or days on the beach (which is not the same as being by the sea) would become experience. It's nice, and it's fun to think about sometimes--and, I'll admit, I like to use it for shock value when I tell people about what my life was like before my change.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm glad I have all of those experiences. They have had their positive effects on my life. But now they have passed, as the summer has, as this rain will. And then there will be a new stage, a new season: In this case, autumn. My last autumn (My last fall?--Would that it could be!) before the surgery.

And how will this autumn end? With my students taking exams--and another visit to my parents. I bought the ticket to Florida last night. Going on the afternoon of Christmas Eve; returning on the morning of New Year's Eve. Those weren't the travel dates I'd hoped to have, but with the schedule I have, there is no other choice. At least the fare isn't higher than it would've been if I'd gone on the 22nd and returned on the 29th, as I'd hoped I could.

Whatever, as some of my students would say. I don't know what this season will bring, save for some rain and some sun. And I know, if not how it will end, what occasion will mark another passage into another season.