Autumn makes me introspective. Especially when it gets breezy and there is a chill in the wind. It makes me think about my childhood – specifically the time in Portales when my mom was killing herself working nights at the hospital, often double shifts – and I’d eat breakfast at Grandma and Gramps’s. Usually cereal, mostly Raisin Bran, but sometimes I would be surprised with some of Grandma’s biscuits and gravy. She’d give me a cup of coffee and I would sit at that big old table and eat breakfast and talk with her while she smoked part of a cigarette. I can’t really remember her ever smoking a whole one at once, but she would take a couple of puffs and then put it out. Then a while later she might light it back up and take another puff. I never liked the smell of cigarettes, but I never minded when she did. I can’t remember what we talked about, and I think the point is that it doesn’t really matter. What really does matter is that she talked to me. I do remember that every morning she walked out onto the front lawn with me and while the ever present wind in southeastern New Mexico made the old cottonwood out front chatter she would tell me the same thing. “Give that extra effort.” I’m going to be honest and admit that I didn’t always. But I did always remember that she said it.
It is windy like that in LA today. It made me think about me as a child. As happens so often these days when I think about me as a child I can’t help but think of my own girls. I think about the messages that want to give them. And I think about the messages that I actually am giving them and I hope to hell that they are close enough to the same thing. Some Autumn down the road they will catch a scent on the air, or the sunlight will shine in that particular way and they will think of their childhood and remember not necessarily the specifics, but the overall feeling. I hope that, like mine, the tear running down their cheek when they do is one inspired by happiness and not remorse, the distant longing that only nostalgia brings, and a reminder that no matter where they are in the world that they have always been loved.