Warm sun, warm lights in the trees as sunbeams hit the yellow leaves. A welcome breeze, some cool shade. The sound of bus brakes screeching past, the characteristic university building illuminated from one side. Perhaps that is why they built it in the space they did, so that in the fall it would shine as do the trees below. But maybe not. Either way, it’s always fun to imagine, the same way it is to look up and know that the fairyland of color hides something more mysteriously lovely and natural.
Chill breeze. An Indian family seated on a bench, staunchly still outside despite the fact that the sun is no longer on them. She has her hooded sweatshirt pulled up, the drawstrings tightened around her face, covering the multicolored sari, tendrils of which peek out from the more utilitarian garment. They know it will be chilly soon, why waste what is a classic fall, albeit imperfect evening? They nod and smile at passers by, content, beaming.
Sun is dropping. The Asian student pulls his light jacket close, zipping up, looking unforgivably grim. Surely it’s not that cold? Perhaps he failed a test, had an argument, or carries the self-inflicted stress of one immersed in their studies. It doesn’t matter, in the end, anyway. He is cold, backlit by the lights from the restaurant.
Glowing leaves, golden, serene, kissed goodnight by the retreating dayglow, which will be back tomorrow, lovingly wrapping the seasonal shade in its embrace, but only for a little while. Love is eternal, bright flashes of brilliance are not. And so when the leaves depart the trees for this year, the sun will still transmit to the branches its affection, albeit from a lower angle. Enduring, always warming.
Warm busy restaurant, smells of garlic, shouts from an overheated kitchen. Older men and women wrapped up in characteristic woolen and fleeced layers, shapeless clothes that hide bodies of which they may be ashamed. Age is just a mindset. An older man, bearded and with youthful sparkling eyes, brings his partner a ruby glass of red wine. He holds his beer, pausing, as the two in their intimate circle clink glasses. They kiss, radiate golden warmth and calm, brighter than the neon lights in the kitchen, and louder than the intoxicated sorority party yelling out their appetizer order. Only one thing lasts forever, and it is more precious and multifaceted than gold in its eternal brilliance.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”