In the fall, I miss Missoula. How could I not miss this?
That’s what fall is supposed to look like, isn’t it? Never mind that in well over half of the habited world, it doesn’t.
It doesn’t in Oaxaca. It’s November, and the lime tree in our yard is in full bloom. Here, you could comfortably wear sandals about 350 days a year.
The first year we lived here, I kid you not, I sometimes completely forgot what month it was: no outside indicators of the seasons. It drove me a little crazy. But like most things, it’s really just a matter of paying attention.
I’m trying to plug myself in to what the seasons mean here.
Fall in Oaxaca is the mountains green fading to brown, because the rainy season has ended but not so very long ago.
It's butterflies, orange and black and yellow and white and blue, small and large, floating through an amber afternoon light that makes you sad.
It’s strong winds, without fail, on October 31, when the departed return for Día de los Muertos.
It's a tiny beige frog crouched on a leaf of the avocado tree I grew from a pit, right outside the office window. It's tiny beige frogs smushed into the dirt of the road, or hopping across it, invisible until they move.
It’s cool mornings and warm afternoons with perfectly clear blue skies.
And it’s yellow: marigolds for the dead, and all the yellow wildflowers blooming in fallow fields and vacant lots and along the roadsides.
All that yellow against the green-brown mountains against all that blue, blue sky. It almost reminds me of something. Sometime. Some place.