a conglomeration of forgotten snapshots and moments of autumn in Ohio
18 is a big year. it's been described as many things. there's an unspoken expectation of the age. the days of cigarette butts, and late nights, and moving out. the age of freedom, of rebellion, of adulthood. the day we grow up. or so we think at the ripe age of 8. ten years, and then we'll be there; and then everything would change. perhaps we tell ourselves things would get better, or things would finally shift from the eternal grove of normalcy into something more... exciting.
as if the change of a number could ever really change who a person is.
i have a friend whose parents practically forced her out the day she turned 18. they did it "out of love". at least, that was the term they used, as they shut the door behind her. a clear end of the reality of everything she knew, of everything she'd come to call her own.
birthdays have always been strange for me. we celebrate the years of life lived, and receive many happy wishes for the years to come. gifts are exchanged, candles are lit and extinguished, the phone rings, the facebook notifications explode in well wishes, and kind words.
and at the end of the day? everything's still the same in my eyes. i'm a day older than i was yesterday, but people look at me differently. what never changed is the way i look at myself.
this morning, my parents took me out to breakfast. we sat in a little booth, and ate pancakes off a huge plate in the center of the table. three forks, two pancakes, one plate. the autumn sun created broken patterns on the table, with the view of the slowly transitioning maple and oak trees across the road from out the window.
they asked me what i want. not for my birthday, but for life. my answer? "i don't really know." maybe that's not exactly true. i know some of what i want.
i want love. i want adventure, spontaneity, the thrill of the unknown. i want to sit up late and write poetry, and fiction, and wake up early to the smell of coffee and the sight of pale sunlight across my pillow. i want the wild laughter of late night insanity, the quiet moments when the only sounds are the beating of my wandering heart, and the wind in the trees.
i want music. all kinds. the pounding of the drums that you feel in your chest like your heartbeat, and the quiet, trembling waver of tenuously plucked strings. i want words that catch in my throat when i speak them; words that repeat in my head when i read them, words that cling to my heart when i ponder them.
i don't know what i want tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now. i don't know where i'll be, who i'll be with, or what i'll be doing. and you know what?
that's totally okay.
and today, i woke up to a broken pattern of lace, soft lines of pale yellow sunshine on my wall. the comforting scent of coffee hanging in the air, a promise heavy with remembrance and change. today feels like fall. the change has been sudden. just yesterday the heat clung to me like a heavy blanket, smothering all promises and discouraging any thoughts of golden leaves and knitted sweaters; refusing to acknowledge the fact that it's existence was almost over - that the life left in the golden sunbeams and yellow, tangled flowers had almost come to a close. summer is one of those seasons that seems endless to me. the lines between seasons are blurred, the transition just slow enough to escape notice until the earth has shed it's previous attire, and embraced the newness that appears without fail, year after year. an endless cycle of constancy.
this year, the usual hesitation between seasons is absent. there is none of the familiar, gradual transition; fall didn't wait with bated breath for summer to give her last huzzah. goosebumps on arms, firelight flickering over chilled, freckled faces, and the shade that suddenly feels cold and unwelcoming. in an instant. overnight. without warning. it was like i woke up, and summer was over. it feels abrupt, harsh, shocking. but i know it's really not. after all, this transition happens every year. chills racing down my arms. cold (but familiar) fingers, chased by sputtering breaths of wind. fall brings change, they say, but really, it only brings what it has always brought; the reality of death with the promise of new life. maybe we're the ones who have changed. maybe what we see as change is only the difference in our perspective.
seasons waiting around just long enough for us to whisper "hello", before they're gone again, goodbyes cracking on our lips as we realize it's too late to bid farewell to the past. it's already gone.