Every Breath that Stirs the Trees Doth Cause a Leaf to Fall

Autumn is my favorite season. I think it is the crisp smell in the atmosphere. Or the warmth of a bonfire while a cool, autumn mist threatens to chill fingers, toes, and noses.

In high school, I anticipated each Friday night, which would include a quick excursion into Council Bluffs for franchised nourishment. Satisfied with grease and MSG, my friends and I would race back home to change into our uniforms. And then we would walk.

We would walk to the football game, my friends donning constricting, out-dated band uniforms and I an itchy, synthetic, guard costume. As we neared the field, the temperature gracefully lowered, demonstrating a ideal example as to why September and October are known for "sweatshirt weather."

Now in college, I gleefully take pleasure in the deliciously radiant colors displayed throughout campus. I photograph inconsequential things, admire leaves, and don skirts & tights three times a week.

When I walk through the Engineering Mall to work, I pass lines of trees just beyond the Physics and Materials & Electrical Engineering buildings, a panorama of burning bushes. My skirt flounces as I cross Northwestern, my face tickled by an October breeze while, beneath my black suede boots, a spectrum of sanguine foliage crunches and crumbles into minuscule dust.

I love the sweaters. I love the surprisingly seamless blend of short skirts and over-sized dolman-style cardigans; color, gray.

I love the moments when, walking to and from campus, the wind presents me with detached leaves--and, literally, smacks me in the face.

The leaf, brown and dry, cracked and stiff with petrified veins, clings to my cheek. I peel it from my profile, twirl the stem between my thumb and forefinger, smiling. Nature.

I love corn mazes and pumpkins and pumpkin pie and Halloween decorations and marching band competitions and raking leaves and roasting marshmallows and candy apples and football games and last-minute, the-weather-is-still-good-to-do-this-adventures and sweatshirts and squirrels and cider.

Actually, that's not true. I do not love cider. I do, however, love alliteration.

I wish I were a child.

If I were a child, I would help my mother rake the leaves in our front yard, rake and rake and mold into a monstrous pile. West of the house, I would run and leap into the mound, my crunchy, brown impact kaleidoscoping leaves into the air.

I would tease our living room with fake cobwebs, soften the room with pumpkin-spice candles. If I were a child, I would watch Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree" and wonder with a childlike wonder the days of Halloween yore.

It makes me reminiscence. It reminds me of childhood, adolescence. Each time a breath of autumn carries a leaf to me, dances my skirt, touches me--I remember. I grab memory's snapshots, piece a collage: the whisper of fabric twirling just beyond my nose, a rake with a jagged teeth, a purple sweatshirt. Flames dance, rain falls, spicy aromas fade.

There is a leaf on my desk. Just to the left. A brown leaf with holes and veins and the brown crispiness of a burnt potato flake. Just beyond my nose, I twirl it between my thumb and forefinger, smiling. I love autumn.


As you can tell, I have not been able to post many things since this term started. Actually, to be honest, I have not posted anything. The "Monday Scribblings" that appear each week only occur because, in August, I scheduled posts through the end of next March.

This semester, I am taking 18 credit hours (a first for me). I am still working, and still have to find time to entertain my "sad," "lonely," "bored" boyfriend, who only has to "suffer" through 12 credit hours four days a week.

I'm jealous.

Anyway, this weekend is Fall Break; we have next Monday and Tuesday off, which is quite exciting. With the little bit of extra time, I thought I would post this little bit of nonsense...

I provide no explanation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m a dreamer. I say this, but do not mean that I am an idealist. I am an Idealist, yes, but not an idealist. I wish I was an idealist; I wish that I could classify myself as a romantic. (And, of course, the lines are further blurred when comparing a romantic with a Romantic.)

No—idealists are romantics. Little ‘i,’ little ‘r.’

I’m an Idealist. I’m abstract. I view my surroundings and ache for deeper understanding; for the reasons behind a world rich with possibilities. I am tortured by the radio static that hums in the background, a gnat of abstruseness buzzing about my face.

Donnie Darko torments me. Weeks after watching it, I still expect to see Frank—a manipulated dead traipsing through my reality.

Frank himself does not scare me; his method of transport does.

I skim forums, read through others’ beliefs about the fourth dimensional construct. I try to make linguistic sense of a tandem universe in which actions have no explicit meaning, but manipulated dead are a necessity.

“This makes no sense,” I say, frustrated that I am unable to philosophically define what, in essence, is a cult classic about teen angst.

I read recently an article that explained why people sleep certain ways. There was the “Early-to-Bed, Early-to-Rise” sleeper, the “Long Sleeper,” and the “Peaceful Sleeper.” I, however, fit into three categories: the “Restless Sleeper,” the “Necessity Sleeper,” and the “Dreaming Sleeper.”

The “Necessity Sleeper” typically receives less than eight hours of sleep. This type of sleep usually accompanies those who are self-critical, anxious, and who are in a “chronic state of tension.”

The Restless Sleeper is usually a person who can be classified as a “perfectionist.” “People who expect a lot of themselves and who don’t meet their own personal standards are more likely to have insomnia,” the article said. The article also implied that perfectionists also try to control their sleeping patterns as well. Hmm. This does sound like me; I am a self-declared “perfectionist” who, just two days ago, burst into tears over the grades I may receive on work I had yet to do.

That, however, is just a minute detail in the amount of control I do have, or wish I could have. Not being able to compromise? Sure—it is the result of other factors as well...but my hesitancy to compromise means that I am yielding my opinion. I want that control. I want it because I am insecure.

So insecure, in fact, that I can’t even hold to a set moral. I fail to define my world in black and white constructs because, each day, there are too many factors that alter the ultimate outcome.

I think I think in three dimensions. Four, perhaps. Trying to wrap my gray matter around the idea of “thinking” in a tandem universe is almost like attempting (and ultimately failing) to place infinity on a number line.

No wonder physicists are depressed.

I’m not depressed, though. Just crazy. In fact, the article says that “Dreaming Sleepers” are individuals are who “odd” and “quirky,” and have a higher risk for schizophrenia.

So, perhaps, I really am crazy.

I’m so glad the article states that “most are perfectly normal.”

How delightfully comforting.

In addition to having a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, “Dreaming Sleepers” are described as individuals who are “highly creative in [their] waking life.” Personally, I wouldn’t describe myself as “highly creative.” I am certainly not innovative, and I often struggle to fully complete a thought, project, paragraph, or sentence. It’s like diagnosing Pablo Picasso with attention deficit disorder, handing him a pencil and a pair of safety-scissors, and saying, “Go!”

That’s what my creative mind is like—a kaleidoscope of intangible rainbow vomit. And glitter.

I bet that, right now, you are trying to imagine what rainbow vomit looks like. I’ll tell you this—whatever you dream of, whatever you picture; that is what my dreams resemble. I don’t dream black and white, I don’t dream concrete thoughts. I dream beyond reality, beyond (insert cliché) space and time.

One of my most horrid nightmares was around two years ago. I was dead; this I knew. I was dead, and there was nothing around me expect a suffocating void. An empty, dark, inescapable blackness that I could taste and feel and see, though I had no body, no physical form. It choked me, that blackness. Evil.

I am similarly tortured by tandem universes and a weekly dose of déjà vu.

I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a feminist. I am a feminist. I’m crazy, you’re crazy, he’s crazy, we’re all crazy. There is no black and white.

My only issue with being a “Dreaming Sleeper” is this: if I cannot define my creativity, déjà vu, or paranoia of a psychological fantasy film, I do not have the ability to place myself in physical state of either “asleep” or “awake.” Dreamers can’t categorize...and their lives are defined by the blurred line between those states.

This is why Donnie Darko haunts me, and why I find a cartoon-ish Picasso (who, in my mind, is sitting cross-legged on the floor) with a pair of safety-scissors amusing.

Remember: I’m supposed to be abstract. And incoherent.

I’m a dreamer.
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