It’s like feeling blue, except it’s orange: warm and sweet with a hint of cinnamon and cardamom and hot vanilla and chai. It could be an atomic orange or subtle peach or pumpkin or vermilion. It’s fall. It envelops you, the feeling of orange, like the smell of gingerbread baking in a house full of holidays. We’re on our way there.

I think of the Phoenix bird in fall, rich with jewel-tone hues and hot with fire but singed with death. The season is both an interim period and a period of change. The rebirth will come, but it hasn’t come yet. The ashes and feathers still litter the ground.  For the moment.  Fall is an oven filled with the beginnings of a chocolate cake, still gelatinous in the middle, not fully done.

I like to savor fall. I revel in its feelings, of the memory of curling up on the leather couch and watching Hocus Pocus while the New York wind howled outside.  Sometimes there would be snow in the wind, and we’d trick-or-treat with our costumes hidden under layers of coats. Or the fragments of the Ray Bradbury-inspired Halloweenish poems I composed in seventh grade, and how my proud teacher stuck glittering Lisa Frank pumpkin and ghost stickers all over them to show how thrilled she was. The mortification melted away at the podium as I recited rhymes of witches flying on frayed brooms and ghouls and goblins hiding behind skeletal trees. I still have them, under my bed somewhere, a black hole of a place where the past goes to be sucked up and forgotten.  The poems lie there, like little bodies sleeping in one great big grave.

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