It’s been a long autumn this year. The colors have passed their peak (evidenced, if by nothing else, by the fact that I could barely see the lines in the parking lot at work this morning for the carpet of yellow that covered them), but only just, and they began weeks and weeks ago. I saw a flaming maple in the middle of the park at the beginning of October, all alone in its glory, the deep green of late summer still on the limbs of the trees around it. The massive maple across the street has shed most of its foliage, but others are still bearing their yellow and scarlet leaves. I saw sun light the crimson tops of the grand oaks on the front drive as I was leaving work today. Meanwhile the small oak in my front lawn rusts away quietly.
A slow-burn autumn.
My mother has nicknamed me the Dragon. It’s a nickname that brings concerned expressions to the faces of strangers and raises eyebrows among aquaintances and friends sometimes. But family – and I mean that in the non-biological definition of the word – family understands the name. I love the nickname. It reminds me that there’s someone in the world who knows that deep inside of me is a burning intensity that I don’t let out very often, because it’s likely to scorch. That there’s a passion and energy there which I’m constantly reigning in just so that I can function on a day-to-day basis. That when I’ve found something to believe in, or something or someone that I love, I do it fiercely-if quietly, because I struggle to express its force.
A slow-burn intensity.
I write. I write because I’m a storyteller and because I have ideas that can only express themselves through story. But it takes me a long time to get it all down. I mull and mull and mull over scenes or plots for days or weeks or months (or years, sometimes) before I start writing them. I play conversations out in my head before I type them on the page. I run through three options of direction a scene could take before I choose one.
A slow-burn creativity.
I’ve realized that I like a slow-burn autumn. I always say that fall and spring do a lot to make up for winter and summer here in Philadelphia – they have a lot to make up for, winter is usually pretty lame and summer is stupidly hot. Fall tends to be lovely here, with brightly colored leaves dancing in blustery breezes on sunshiny days. But this slow-burn autumn makes me even happier – like all the majestic intensity of this past week when so many of the trees seemed to suddenly realize it was fall and come out dressed for the season together was made better for the wait.
And that has made me wonder if slow-burning isn’t so bad after all.