As autumn approaches think of a perfect fall day you have experienced. Using words and pictures, recapture that day.InlandEmpireGirl posts a scrapbook of lovely autumn Lake Roosevelt images, here, and Silver Valley Girl recalls a fall getaway trip to Central Idaho, here.
Fall reaches perfection for me in early November. Trees stand bare. Sunny days give way to grey ones and the clouds lower to shoulder level, encasing Eugene in a damp, cold fog.
It's reverse humidity. Instead of the air being thick with heat, it's thick with chill. The sun's glare is gone. The fog moistens the skin. The grey relaxes the eyes. I feel alive.
On one such November day, in 1986, Doug and I walked from near downtown to the University of Oregon. We had no purpose. We just enjoyed the bracing effect of the cold and fog and enjoyed looking at the scarves and stocking caps and heavier coats people wore as they, too, were out strolling on campus.
The fog comforted me. It wrapped around me, like a quilt.
My girlfriend was in London and had told me she was with another guy.
The news devastated me and in this fog I felt closed in, protected, as if only the four or five feet ahead of me existed and the rest of the world had vanished.
Doug and I ran into a former student of mine, Kathrine, deeply intelligent, whose entire presence, from the black wool coat, white wool scarf, and pale green gloves to her receptive blue eyes and eager smile vivified Doug and me when we ran into her.
I introduced Doug and Katherine. We chatted. We went our separate ways.
That was it.
It was perfect. The fog. Doug's friendship. Our stroll. Katherine's loveliness. The cold. Our wool coats.
And the way the cold fog protected me from my inward torment.
It was the perfect fall day.
When the November all-day fog returns in several weeks, I'll walk in it, kick a few leaves, and remember Doug and Katherine. I'll shiver at the thought of how near that day twenty-two years ago feels.
Even as it recedes.