Saturday, September 10, 2016

Call of fall

I commented on Twitter earlier today, that I didn't know if I was sad because I would never be able to go to Rhinebeck* or if it was actually that I was sad I had the kind of life that made things like going to Rhinebeck difficult to manage.

(*Rhinebeck, for non-knitters: it is THE big festival of fiber. It is the go-to-be-seen but also the go-to-meet-up-with-friends-both-actual-and-Ravelry, the go-to-see-new-stuff, the go-to-shop, the go-to-pet-fiber-animals, and the go-to-eat-maple-cotton-candy. At least that's what I've gleaned from reading about it).

Honestly, I think it's the second: Rhinebeck is very far away from me (New York State) and travel from my neck of the woods is inconvenient (I don't like to fly anyway, but the thought of having to go to DFW - the nearest airport-  to fly from it is enough to really make me go "nope"). It would take a couple days and a couple train connections to get there. Driving is out unless I could organize a posse to trade off with (and even then, three days or so in a car? You wouldn't like me after three days in a car with me.)

But also, I have a less "portable" life than some people: my work, as generous as it can be with vacation time (I can take two and a half weeks at Christmas if I want and no one will say boo, or at least no one has said boo in the past), that time must come only when classes are not in session. Lots of fun things happen WHEN classes are in session and I can't pick up and go to them like, say, an office worker who could request pretty much any vacation time of out the year could. And I have duties at church. (I went down this morning and practiced the sermon - twice. I'm as ready as I will be as long as I don't forget one of the procedural things like the Gloria Patri or to issue the invitation or something like that).

And right now, money is an issue. Oh, I'm not in danger of having to eat Little Friskies or something, but I do look with worry at my bank balance and tell myself not to do any unnecessary spending for the next six weeks or so (at least. I may carve out a donut hole around Mid-Fall break to allow myself some fun spending then, but other than that, any splurges have to be $10 or less and only once every 2-3 weeks now). So (a) jetting off and (b) having enough cash on hand for the yarn I would doubtless want to buy (or the set of carbon fiber sock needles that I admit I still lust after despite them being something like $50 a set) is not a possibility.

And even if I did go, I'd need a "posse" (if my fellow-drivers were still speaking to me after putting up with three days of my fussing about restaurant choices with food I could eat, or my getting slightly carsick on my rotation in the backseat, or my lack of tolerance for many forms of pop music for extended periods of time) because I don't cope well with big crowds. 

So logistically, it's impossible. But I admit I feel some longing for it. Part of it is that it's a "fall" thing and it seems every summer here gets progressively harder and seems progressively hotter and nastier (It's cooler today, but it sure wasn't yesterday). And the North in autumn is so pretty - here, our "leaf drop" is mainly "they turn brown and dry out and then fall off." And we don't have a lot of the special foods (cider donuts, that sort of thing) that I relate to fall, that I remember from falls as a kid (Candy corn doesn't count: I don't like it any more and anyway doubt I could eat it any more with all my dental work. I don't want to pull out a crown). And the change in the light, and the change in the leaves, and the cold nights where it's actively pleasant to be under a couple of heavy quilts - all of that makes me think of fall, and I miss it, because we're not in fall here yet, really.

(Football is here. One of the two straight-shot east-west streets in my town is blocked off from where I would enter it to the end of campus so they can "tailgate," which must be an interesting concept on a "dry" campus. I'm not a football fan, really - I guess I would say I appreciate college football marginally more than I do pro, but even the degree to which I appreciate it is "not much." Perhaps if I had had a child I would care even more about high school football than college, because on some weird ideological level it seems "purer" to me, as in, a bit less tainted by Big Money, but, I don't know... Then again, I have some happy childhood memories of my dad puttering around the house with the University of Michigan games - back in those days, "called" by the unabashedly partisan Bob Ufer (my dad used to seek out the AM channel running the feed with Ufer on it). And we went to University of Akron games and I kind of enjoyed those, though I admit I enjoyed the marching band at halftime more)

I also have happy childhood memories - arguably, my HAPPIEST memories, and the ones I'd try to call up if I were trying to summon a Patronus, was of hiking with my parents in (what was then) the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. I remember the cool fall Saturdays, the trees just starting to turn, my brother a baby in a Snugli, me between my parents, reaching up to hold each of their's one time in my life I felt totally secure, like nothing bad could possibly happen, which is probably why I think of it as my happiest memory, even though it's really a mish-mash of a couple years in the early to mid 70s.

I wonder what my parents would think, that that - the "free" thing they did probably not more than a few Saturdays each fall - is the one big, overhanging thing that makes me go "I had a happy childhood because..." That it wasn't going to summer camp or the movies they took us to or the toys they bought us or the fact that my dad was an "early adopter" of Pong (which, honestly, is a super boring game after about five minutes). 

So yeah. Fall means a lot to me, it seemed like the time of year that a lot of good things happened. (And then, later, there was Halloween, which was a big deal when I was a kid, and Thanksgiving, which was also a big deal because we often traveled to my paternal grandmother's....). And we don't have as many markers of fall here or as many festivals and stuff. And also I'm a sad tired adult who either doesn't have or doesn't make (I don't know which it is) to go and seek out actual I look at things like Rhinebeck and feel, not exactly jealous, but a little wistful, like "I wish that was my life" and while I know some of it is the grass seeming greener, but I also....I don't know. I do wish I had fewer responsibilities (or less of a sense of the weight of them, maybe) and more chances for genuine fun. (I have decided that running to the Kroger in Sherman really doesn't qualify as "fun" even if it is better than grocery-shopping at the wal-mart because they carry things I like that the wal-mart does not)

I wish BPAFF was happening this fall, I'd go in a heartbeat, but it doesn't look like it is.

I don't know if I can take the time to get away for the big ONPS program in the Wichita mountains - part of me wants to go but part of me knows I will get desperately behind in my other work.  I think I have a few more days to decide. (Also would have to check if I could stay overnight there but do camping-avoidance; I do not camp for a variety of reasons but the one I most commonly give is bad allergies)

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