I let my fingers trail over the keys. Like the Pac-man of my thoughts, I imagine the words I want to say running through the currents of the lines between the keys. They whisper my stories to those tiny letters. Words are sacred to me because they hold more than just the ink of their lines. They hold dreams, fears, pasts, and even powers for the future.
I remember lying haphazardly on the living room couch; at the time, the televisions and computers tucked away in the den, far from my literary world. Before my parents divorced, I was reading The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Harry Potter series, and The Dragon Riders of Pern. My father and I would take turns reading. We would pause every few pages as my father would expect a summary of what was going on, using proper nouns of course. If I was struggling to follow, he would explain and then we would reread the pages. From fifth to sixth grade, I was in a world of enchantment. I learned to hang onto words the way leaves hang onto the trees, long enough to appreciate their rise and fall, only to make room for the turning of another.
When it was time for bed, I was allowed to stay up only if I was in bed reading. However, this only worked for a while. My mother would come to check on me and many nights I would swear to be almost done with my chapter. She started to be on to me after a few nights of too many reminders to get to bed. So, after a while, I would listen to music and lie, pretending to be asleep, until I heard my parents settle into bed. I would creep into my walk-in closet, close the door enough to keep the light in but allow me to hear any noise in the hall, and would read well into the middle of the night. For me, I could not put down a book until I had finished a chapter. It would burn in my mind if I left even one page unread in the chapter. And, quite naturally, books never seem to clean chapter endings.
By seventh grade, I had read through most of the recommended books and had kept up with almost every new youth reader recently released. But my favorite remained the adventures or the ones that broke all the writing rules.
Which is why fall is my favorite season. It is an adventure and a rule-breaker. The world says nature is dying, losing its life in order to prepare for the harsh winter months. But in reality, it is living. It is giving all its color in one last splendid hoorah in order to prove just how alive it is. Words do that, too. They appear stagnate, printed permanently in place, only to have life when we read over them.
In fact, they are more than that. They hold secrets, crafting, processes, and life within the confines of their inky presence. When lingered over lips, they hold the secrets with which they were manifested. And they have incredible energy just waiting to be unleashed by those who come across their path. Fall is a bold display of nature’s energy, the secret life it will hide all winter. There are golds and reds and oranges and all the colors that make us feel alive. To marvel at its courageous display of fierce opposition to the idea of death is an adventure in itself.
In books, my favorite moments were the descriptions, of people, places, and moments. The kind that wrap around you and make you feel as if you knew. The kind that made you more present in reality, even if it was fictitious. Autumn is like that. It makes you aware that you are here, and despite the winter that will come, the greens will return. But before you lose all that natural beauty, there will be bold, brazen displays that will color your world beyond the limitations granted by words. That is adventure. That is autumn. That is life showing herself to you.