We’re well into autumn now- my favourite time of year, thanks to growing up in New England. Sure, I’m biased, but there is nothing as gorgeous as fall in New England. The trees are a riotous firework of colour to be found nowhere else in the world. Autumn at school in Virginia and here in the UK is just dull in comparison- visually. At least the smell is still in the air; the dying leaves, the crisp cold, the tickle of wood-smoke. It is the season of dying; my father even died at the very beginning of fall just over five (is it already five?) years ago. It must be the poet in me then, that thinks this is the most beautiful of seasons.
We missed the beginning of autumn this year, Dani and I. We took our belated honeymoon to the distant and exotic isle of Mauritius, out in the Indian Ocean, and we had an amazing little adventure while the rest of the world seemingly tumbled into economic crisis. It was a much-needed and well-timed break, then! And really, upon our return, things aren’t visibly different. Only time will tell, but I think people generally are full of drama and over-reaction. My Grandfather is 89, has lived through a World War and the Depression, was one of the first American soldiers into Auschwitz. I’ve seen his pictures of the bodies; his eyes have seen them first-hand. We’re an over-protected, over-pampered generation and we need to stop whining.
I’d have a few Mauritius pictures in here if our main computer hadn’t crashed, so that’ll have to wait. Meanwhile I’m going through the proofs of Darwin’s Microscope and getting pretty excited! Publication date is Feb and that is going to come up quickly.
Meanwhile, I’m working on writing a few things-one, a report for ASLE-UK on the conference earlier this year in Edinburgh. Another, an account of presenting this history-of-science topic (Darwin) to various (scientific, non-scientific; academic, non-academic) audiences. Probably my biggest project, for which I have the first meeting on Monday, is preliminary plans for the next ASLE-UK postgrad Conference– tentatively titled “Literature and the Sea,” but we’ll probably hone it to a more focused title. That should be exciting and a great reason to delve back into my Melville/Cetology work.
Other than being quite keen to do some work on the new flat (I love interior decorating and have everything picked out already, though who knows if Dani will agree on it…) these things are keeping me pretty busy. I’m dabbling with a new poetry manuscript focusing on my father and his death, but how quickly that will come together remains to be seen.
The two weeks in Mauritius was gorgeous, amazing. It was phenomenal to be on the beach getting a sunburn (I know, I shouldn’t get a sunburn…) I love London and the UK generally, but I do get to missing the sun. One of our first days back in the miserable grey rain, I just laughed- “Welcome to England!” The weather is notoriously bad, but the vibrancy- especially of London- makes up for it. I just need to punctuate it with some trips to sunny places to keep from getting down. If I can swing it, maybe I’ll go home to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving next year. I miss the sunny autumn days, the smell of Clyde’s Cider Mill pressing out the ruby apples and the cinnamon-spiced steam of hot apple cider…and I do miss those fall colours.