It’s curious how comfortable and familiar this grey sky feels. It’s been years since autumn felt this way. I’m walking down a path in a forest. The sky is foggy and the air is cold. Everything is wet and moist. Colors are muted and there are no hues outside of the dull green and deep brown. Branches of trees lie on the path, cracked and broken. The trees are leafless and naked they are still standing tall, damp and dark. Many trees have patches of moss, the darkest and most colorful experience today. The tops of the trees are obscured by the fog. Surrounding the trees small heaps dark the leaves create a swatch of dark brown to black in various shades representing the progressive states of decay. The black leaves almost entirely returned back to dirt form and fading into the black asphalt.
The atmosphere feels cold and there’s a suggestion of melancholy. It takes me back to the school yard. To the grey tiles I stood on when I was 10 years old, the same monotonous grey sky. To schoolyard bullies, to wet puddles and to the teacher with her best fake enthusiasm and the inevitable trips we’d make. Those trips would fill me with dread, being outside and cold and getting wet socks. I never enjoyed these kinds of outings, I still don’t. There was a distinct monotony to those days and while I have very clear and vivid memories. I wouldn’t be able to say whether I was 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 or even 8. These days, these experiences, they all fade into each other and while I’m sure they all happened, there is no sense of time or order to them.
I still hear the same people’s voices, the same birds chirps and even the same Christmas songs in my mind. Then slowly over the weeks as the days got shorter, days would increasingly just flow one into the other, the sun weaker and the skies a deeper grey. Leading up to Christmas very slowly, days started to lose their meaning. Moods relaxed and even the strict teachers lost their motivation to discipline us. Christmas decorations would fill the school and this half-way moment acted as a proper break in the year. We had to clean things out, prepare for the cleaners that would come and clean the school properly in the weeks we would be off.
Though the weather would always be threatening, there was always plenty of rain and storms even. There was hope too, the occasional snowflake gave hope for proper snow. Magazines filled with ideas for good gifts to be had. Hope for a real break from school work. There was hope for late Christmas movies, grocery stores advertising good food and everywhere there were just so many Christmas snacks.
My heart filled with nostalgia, I find my way back to my car. Out here in the cold, I’ve done my round and it’s time to get going again. I drive away and get into town again. I remember these roads too from long ago, they’ve changed in some ways, but especially now, especially in the autumn, just before the Christmas decorations, it’s vividly clear how similar things are now compared to then. In my mind’s eye I’m still cycling here, coming home from school. I see the same streetlights and intersections. My distractions are overwhelming and I get off the main road. I park my car and stand there on the sidewalk. These streets are so familiar and especially these, someone from my school lived here. I remember a long time ago my mother set me off, I walked on these cobblestones and I walked by those trees.
Touching the trees, the vision is complete and I find myself back when I was 10 watching the same sky, next to the same tree on the same cobblestones. Heading for my friend, I see the candles lit, deep shades of orange hues through the flickering light. I can almost smell the hot chocolate and the comfort and coziness coming through the door. I need some time to gather myself, but then I set off to get home. To find my own comfort and warmth. Once home I view the city I grew up in, the way things have changed and in so many ways stayed the same. I find comfort in the monochromatic skies, in the bit of color I do see and how the naked trees reveal so much familiarity of our surroundings and ourselves.