After seeing the temperature in the high 80s and low 90s for the past few weeks, I awoke this morning to brisk weather. I love the word "brisk" because it is one of those words that everyone understands, so it isn't a fancy one. Lipton used to state that their tea was "brisk" but I don't know if I buy that entirely. I mean, I DO buy Lipton tea...but the descriptor? Not so much.
A Fall day that is cool is brisk, as is a walk that is peppy and quick. We can take a brisk walk around the block to see the changing leaves and feel the cool wind upon our face. We can tune in to the unmistakable aroma of a neighbor building the first fire of the season. Quite blissful.
On brisk mornings as a freshman in college, I would walk down the steps to the mailbox from the freshman dorm and be nearly overwhelmed with the scent of tea olives wafting in the air. The fountain would be directly in front of me, and the other dorm buildings were in sight. I am sure that Wesleyan has changed a lot since 1981, but I can still feel the brisk air of a Macon, Georgia morning. I have tea olives in my backyard now...and that scent takes me back.
A couple of years later, I would trek across the Troy State campus at 4:00 in the afternoon to go to the dining hall. Any later, and you'd be walking back in total darkness after the clock reverted back from daylight savings time. I would pass the pecan trees on my way from Pace Hall and Shackleford Hall and pass the art building to my left...which at the time looked like the proverbial red-haired stepchild of buildings on campus. It was leveled to make way for a big new administration building a few years ago, but I can still see it in my mind's eye as it was. I took Visual Arts in that building, and learned that my proficiency in this realm was well below average. I could pick out the Impressionists...so it quickly became my favorite type of art...and still is.
Still later, I would participate in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day walks in October 2000 and 2001 in Atlanta. I walked with women (and men) who thought that raising awareness and money for the cause was extremely important...as did I (it still is.) I remember the cool Fall air, the relief when a port-a-potty was sighted, and how much time I had to be alone with my own thoughts over the three days. I walked 60 miles (52 the first year) and felt like I had actually accomplished something grand. Sleeping in the tents wrapped in a cocoon of a mylar blanket was not exactly the Hilton, but it certainly wasn't bad. Never mind that it was 27 degrees in the tent. I actually think sub-zero temperatures pass the "brisk" category straight into "downright cold" but whatever.
Several years ago, I started attending high school football games again, and loved watching a team from the childrens' school become state champions. Several of those boys went on to play college football...and others graduated with my daughter. I watched an old boyfriend of hers play every game his senior year, and I enjoyed sitting with my girlfriends with a blanket on our laps laughing and talking about everything and nothing on a brisk evening. I sincerely miss those days.
But this morning, I am seeing a day that is not the bright blue one would expect from a brisk Fall day, but one that is gray and a little ominous. So, on days like this, I just close my eyes and remember all of the happy times from Fall of the past. The trick-or-treating, high school band halftime shows, riding relatively safe things at the fair, and the feeling that all is right in the world...or at least not scary.
Go outside today...and breathe deeply. Let the cool air remind you that the seasons are constant and changing. Remember that God is in control of all of this...so enjoy the show of the changing leaves, the scents of Fall in the air, and the sound of college football on the television or radio (or if you are lucky...from the stadium).
As for me...I think I might just take a brisk walk for a few minutes. I need to get the old blood pumping before I vegetate my Saturday away watching the SEC. Later!