I had strong memory this morning of riding my bike down a hill on the street in front of our house. The air was skin warm and after the heat of the summer was a delightful caress, going downhill I did not have to pedal and it was like flying. It’s hard to recapture the freedom of a child biking on a empty road at the end of summer. I am not sure what triggered this childhood memory but it got me to thinking about growing up in St. Louis.
Some Days I Miss St. Louis–Or Perhaps It’s Just My Childhood
“If we hadn’t our bewitching autumn foliage, we should still have to credit the weather with one feature which compensates for all its bullying vagaries – the ice-storm: when a leafless tree is clothed with ice from the bottom to the top – ice that is as bright and clear as crystal; when every bough and twig is strung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole tree sparkles cold and white, like the Shah of Persia’s diamond plume.
Then the wind waves the branches and the sun comes out and turns all those myriads of beads and drops to prisms that glow and burn and flash with all manner of colored fires, which change and change again with inconceivable rapidity from blue to red, from red to green, and green to gold-the tree becomes a spraying fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels; and it stands there the acme, the climax, the supreme possibility in art or nature, of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable magnificence.”
Mark Twain in a speech called “The Weather” (see Mark Twain’s Speeches)
I miss the change of seasons, not just the alternation of hot and wet but four seasons. I miss ice storms and the power going out. Now of course I would be responsible. But as a boy it was my parents’ problem and changes in routine–no school!–were welcome.
“The true object of all human life is play. Life is a task garden, heaven is a playground.”
G. K. Chesterton
I miss thunderstorms and lightning, the “just right” warmth of autumn winds, the way that snow changes the landscape, and the brisk cold of winter giving way to spring. But my blood has changed, so now whether I return in summer or winter I am completely uncomfortable. But it wasn’t always this way.
Working On Christmas Day It was a little eerie riding around a dark San Jose at 5pm on Christmas Day. It reminded me of driving with my father when I was a boy in St. Louis: a snow storm had been followed by an ice storm. The power was out and the landscape was utterly transformed: blanketed in white with the trees looking like crystalline structures. You couldn’t see the lines on the street but it had stopped snowing so the plows were out.