Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn in Cape Town.

It's October, the beginning of autumn. Normally, I eagerly watch for the signals of the season: the nights getting longer and a bit colder, the landscape's transition into earthy hues of brown and orange, and the florescent-lit aisles of supermarkets being filled with plastic masks and bags of candy. Except this year, I'm living in the tropics; it's still steamy hot outside, the palms and rubber trees a permanent lush green. Autumn is my favorite season, and so it's worth questioning why I chose to live somewhere where the seasons are Hot, Dry, and Monsoon. So while I have the air conditioning on and am still wearing shorts and flip-flops, I'm also feeling nostalgic for my last good autumn, which was spent in Cape Town.
Autumn in Cape Town was everything I wanted in the season. Grey clouds rolled over Table Mountain, bringing darker mornings and a cold drizzling rain. The Cape has many colonial buildings, whose bone white plaster and dusty red brick looked beautiful slick with rain. Walking through the city's 17th century gardens on the way to school, I would sip my morning latte as I crossed a carpet of damp fallen leaves. And at night, walking home through Sea Point, I would get the perfect chill under my sweater.
However, autumn in Cape Town didn't exactly work out perfectly either. Autumn for me is primarily a foreshadowing of Halloween; the darkness and decay adding a spookiness to the city in preparation for the 31st. And though the nights in the Cape felt crisp, and the last leaves were turning papery on clawing tree branches, Halloween was not approaching. Autumn in South Africa is in May and June, so I was months away from October 31st. I was left feeling the heavy mood of the season, without the release that Halloween brings. At the very least, however, it gave me a perfect autumn to look back on, as I attempt to replicate the season in my equatorial apartment. Over the next few weeks I'll post more entries on autumn, with more photographs of the Cape and elsewhere. And I'll share my efforts to, hopefully, create my own version of the season here in Bangkok.

1 comment:

Erik said...

That's weird. South Africa needs to move Halloween to June 30. Maybe you could petition the government.

I always think of the end of fall as Thanksgiving, which is not a favorite holiday of mine. All the joy of Autumn sort of dies that day because after that it's all about Christmas and buying junk.

I don't suppose they celebrate Thanksgiving on other continents, though.