Waking up to the soft silence of fall, there is a magic unspoken. Trees bob light heads in the kindness of the wind. Yellow leaves blow around a once lonely place. The ground lay spread on a terrace of rust. Through the solid glass where the traveller looks out into the backyard, the season floats in the air like a dream of a faraway land. The snap, crackle of dry broken stems could only break the silences. They rarely shake the shape of the morning out of the serene lure of its affection. Morning breaks into the rote of rust. It brings with it silence, crackles of dry slivers of life across the dawning day.
teaching. lanugage. travel
It’s all familiar, the rush of legs around the quad – the first day of school. Students of various shapes and sizes, moulds and designs, styles and gait, traipsing all over what a few weeks ago was just a quiet neighbourhood of a few teachers and construction workers. Now, the peace is over and the devil of rote is back. The pandora’s box has been open and won’t be restrained anymore until sometime in the dead of winter. Yes, here we go again.
For me, my last Fall semester in this haunted place as a student, it will soon get pretty busy and, eventually, quiet. Unfortunately, as I have experienced very many times over, approaching the end doesn’t always bring as much of a thrill as exaggerated expectations usually hopes it would. Maybe the thrill is more in the process than in the end itself.
Fall, my most favourite season of the year has kicked into full force. It is mostly characterized by a changing, unpredictable weather along with beautiful leaves falling onto the ground. Everything about this season is like a deja vu for me, and every step reminds me of what it was to take them just a year ago. It also presents a problem of writing about it without being unnecessarily repetitive. The leaves are the same, all brown and ever present like dry concrete tears of the dying season. The cold is the same, and the air still smells like harmattan from a faraway place, and all that would it would take to make it similar to an equally stimulating experience in the autumn season in Jos Nigeria would be rain, and total dryness.
The dying here is gradual, and equally beautiful, depending on where one is: driving by the Mississippi river on the way to Principia or riding a bicycle to school through a long path of trees and a charming lake. What can never be said enough is the sweetness that accompanies every breath taken in the cool sun of October, except of course one is standing under a set of trees where hard dry nuts are also falling down in droves.
By midnight today, the second third of this year will be gone for good and again we’ll wonder where all the time went. Just four months more and we’ll be in another year, making new resolutions and running after new goals. In some parts of the world, the harmattan season is beginning to gather and will gain force in a few weeks. In some other place like around my yard, trees will be crying their leaves into the river – to rephrase the line in Chris de Burg’s song.
In my case, I will be buried in books, research, (maybe) movies, and a series of other activities that may or may not take me away from this page. (I’ve always wanted to be able to take one month off this blog in order to do a few other things. I tried it in July but it didn’t quite work. Wonder if this might be a good time, especially at this beginning of serious classwork and other personal endeavours around the city. Hmm.
The Nokia competition is still on. The second question is already up where I promised it’d be. There will be another one tomorrow, and the last two on Thursday. The email address will be provided before noon on Thursday and you may send in your answers. You could be a lucky winner. The winner will be contacted via email on Thursday and announced on the blog either on the same day, or on Friday.
See ya around.
It won’t take a genius to know that we will have snow here in Edwardsville sooner than expected. It’s not in the forecasts yet, and no tv station is screaming for schools to prepare for a downpour, but from the feel of the weather this evening, from the descending fog and the moisture in the air, I am convinced beyond doubt that it will be any moment now. It feels like late December in Ibadan. It feels like Harmattan in Jos. It feels like that drizzling night at Eldoret, with the four of us in that campus residence, playing chess, taunting each other, finding all what we could to deal with our individual absences. It was cold then as it is now, only that now, there is no rain. Only a gradually freezing temperature with a damp feel, and the trees have all shed their leaves.
I think of the animals. The squirrels behind and around my apartment have been coming out more incessantly nowadays to shop for food. Even for them, it is only a matter of time before the freezing cold, and the outpouring of snow will send them to perpetual hibernation. The herd of deer that I see every other day on my way to the University will also have the environment to deal with. The forest is naked of leaves, and only thin branches and stems stand there. They would most likely have to move to a different environment, except of course the University authorities declare a hunting season – which is already long overdue by now anyway, and allow interested parties to take the animals down.
Fall will be packing up soon, and winter will be here. I can’t wait. Bring it on.