Run Into Fall

There’s a park alongside the tracks. From my Brown Line vantage point I can see the two baseball diamonds, their rounded edges ending abruptly in deep green grass. There are soccer fields, too, strategically placed stretches of flat grass, tall white soccer goals capping off each end of the fields.

I’ve passed the park before; many, many times. In the summer, when the train blows cold, stale air from the vents lining the thick windows, and every stop brings a waft of hot, sticky city air along with it, the field is barely visible. Instead, gazing almost unseeingly out the window, I watch green leaves whip by, catching an occasional glimpse of the field beyond through the tall branches.

Now, in these early October days, the park is a little more visible. Fall is almost a surprise in the city; the leaves turn almost imperceptibly, and life on the ground, on the sidewalk, on the street, is so very busy, there’s not a lot of looking up that we do. So we live and we rush and we try to keep up with the maddening pace, and then one day, we get on the train, northbound, and up there on the tracks, the air is brisk, and the trees, they’ve thinned, dropping leaves that have suddenly turned luscious red, orange, yellow.

And through the gaps in the branches, there is the park.

Today, I almost miss it. I’ve my back to the door, bookbag weighing me backwards. One hand wrapped around the metal bar, steading myself against the sway of the train car, my eyes slide, disengaged, over the treetops, the apartments, the storefronts that we pass.

But there’s a bend in the tracks, the train swinging in a wide arch around an invisible obstacle, and I turn towards the door, catch myself against the momentum, and catch a glimpse of the park.

We’re moving fast, of course. Rolling along the tracks to the next stop, and the stop beyond, and on until the line ends. But for a moment, I lean my shoulder against the window, watch the movement in the park, just for a moment. Watch because something’s caught my eye, and I want to hold onto the scene, the sight, the picture, beyond the second I’ll have it here, in front of me.

Down on the grass, in the rolling emerald green between the baseball diamonds, a boy runs. Red sweater above blue shorts, the white flashes of shin guards and soccer socks. His fair hair moves in the wind, barely long enough to show the effects of the fall wind. His arms and legs pump, not in the tight, hard rhythm of someone working, but in the loose, flying chaos of a child playing. His head thrown back, he’s moving forward, but his gaze is thrown sideways. I cannot see through the autumn leaves still anchored to the branches, but I imagine another child beside him, racing him, pacing him, chasing him.

And then we’ve rounded the corner, swung the long, snake body of the train up around the curving track, and I can see him no more.

I watch the window for a moment more. I see nothing of the field, the child, but the scene, the snapshot I captured in my heart’s eye, brings a joy, an excitement with it. This is fall, I think. This is the changing of the season and the calendar and the very air itself. This is the changing of sports seasons and of tree color and outerwear. Yes, winter will come, bringing with it the aching cold of sharp wind and murky-white ice.

But this is not winter yet. This is the beauty and the color and the grace of fall, and there’s joy in that.

Joy to throw your head back, let your arms move, feel your legs kick the ground in every step; joy to run into fall.

~Natalia

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Grandma S.
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 09:18:17

    Very good!

    Reply

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