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Search for the Soul of Seattle: Autumn in the Emerald City

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Photo by Cole Keister / Pexels
Photo by Cole Keister / Pexels

There's a part of me — maybe the same part that revels in gritty dime-store pulps — that clings to sadness like it's a warm raincoat in a storm.

I often find myself ruminating on the isolation of living in a city whose culture is so different from my home's, a city where I have very few close friends, a city where the sky closes in on you in the dead of night and doesn't let you up for air for months at a time. I've found comfort and protection deep in my own low-level misery. It's not a proud realization.

But all of that is for winter.

It's the dawn of autumn.

And I love autumn in Seattle.

The way sun shines unabashed, hanging like golden thread in the crisp morning air, brings a smile to my face. Walking out to the lake with a cup of coffee and feeling the world come alive in a season of change and death, I'm reminded of the impermanence of everything.

Why am I so intent on making myself miserable? The thought crosses my mind in that slow, still-waking-up sort of way. We all end up worm food one day.

Laughing out loud in public because of a bleak joke you made in your head is a fantastic way to reassure your neighbors of your sanity. I wave and smile at a concerned middle-aged couple in their puffy jackets eyeing me suspiciously.

"I'm a writer, it's alright, I'm just like this," is something I do not say.

Instead, I move closer to the water.

When I smoked, I spent many nights out here in this same spot, calming my nerves by destroying my lungs and looking at the clouds as they passed by the moon. It never gets too cold at night in September or October, something patrons of the dive down the street also recognize. I've crashed more Halloween-themed wedding parties than I care to admit, just by being in the right place with a cigarette.

In autumn, Seattle sparks to life. Mystery and romance dance in the heart of every Seattleite as the days grow shorter. The old, haunted buildings playfully remind us of their ghost stories with every creak in the wind. It's the only time of year the locals don't complain about the weather. On top of that, it's soup season. Who doesn't like soup?

I adjust my coat and stare into the sun on my way back up the hill. My hope is, by the time the gray starts to creep back into the skyline near December, I'll have soaked up enough gold to last me through to spring. I go out of my way to step on a leaf.

As the pieces of the leaf crumble, I smile to myself. Acceptance of impermanence. Nothing stays the same for long. I hope I remember this when night starts to fall at 4 p.m. There's no point in holding onto misery for misery's sake. The rain will stop eventually.