I've been reading many happy paeans to Autumn, lately. People are pleased with that snap in the air, the rustling of many-colored leaves, and all that stuff. I continue to swelter as it's quite hot - September in LA is basically August Two, the Electric Boogaloo. But this morning on the wind, I caught the slightest hint of cooler weather to come.
Passing the school on Westminster, I saw the kids newly returned to class working out in the school's community garden. They'd tossed fresh hay down on the top layer of fertilizer in the plant bed, and the warmth of the day carried the scent of late summer straw. This took me right back to the Delco Scottish Games at the Devon Horse Show Grounds that my mom would take my sisters and I to every year. Mom was pretty good about realizing that a young lad didn't necessarily want to hang out with his mother and kid sisters all day, so she'd cut me loose to wander around while she and Alison and Lydia watched the pipe bands or caber toss, or whatnot. I'd go look at the horses, wander around the tents of the re-enactors, browse the antique and Scottish goods market, and scarf down meat pies. (With brown sauce! Brown flavored!) Incidentally, this was one of my first exposures to Freemasonry, where the various ritual paraphernalia often ended up in the market bins. And those hats are awesome, man! Funny how such a brief exposure to a scent brought back such a complex series of memories.
Gliding down Abbot-Kinney, I smelled a fire. Not a scary wildfire or house burning or something, but the nice smoke-from-a-slate-chimney homey kind of fire that reminded me of those cool days back home, when my grandfather would put on a fire in the fireplace. This was a fairly unusual treat, and generally only happened once or twice a year early in the season. Then my grandfather would remember what a pain it was cleaning out the fireplace, and he wouldn't do it again until the Fall, when he'd managed to forget.
Of all the seasons, I miss Autumn most. Crisp winds, cool air, sweaters, leaves, apple cider, pumpkin patches, hay rides. Here it's just summer, year round - sometimes early summer and still rather cool, and sometimes late summer, and oppressive. This time of year is the part that most scratches my homesick bump.
I love Venice, and don't want to leave, even with all its lumps. One of my biggest gripes has always been the parking. That's gotten quite a bit better this year - some ordnance or another was passed so that people living out of RV's can't park year-round near the beach. This used to be one of my biggest irritations. Now they're dispersed into the neighborhoods, or moved elsewhere. I'm torn on this one...but to me the most scarce resource in any beach community is often parking, and to have that resource dominated by a non-resident population just seems unfair. During the day, of course, it's all beach-goers and everything is fair game...but overnight? For weeks and months at a time? That's a different story, and it seems to me that one street is as good as any other if you're just parking your RV. On the other hand, I don't buy into NIMBY - what's a problem for me is also a problem for anyone I'd foist it off on. So while I'm glad to have the vast majority of our parking spaces back, I also feel a little guilty.
Nothing that some mulled apple cider and a warm fire wouldn't mend, though.