Thursday, October 20, 2016

Writing October, Part 3: Janice's Notions of Transitions

The days have been really stunning here. Here it is, the end of October, the days are warm almost summer like and I still have tomatoes growing in my garden. The nights are cool, but they are not even hinting of winter despite the snow capped mountains just a few miles away from us. I've been doing my best to see each day for each day filled with its own light, uniqueness and flavor. I'm doing my best to enjoy October.

Janice loves October. We were talking about how we differ in our favorite months. I like February, but that is perhaps another story for another time. Janice loves October because she believes it is the most transitional month of the year. I brought up October 2010 to her recently. That was a great month, October 2010. We moved out of a cockroach laden apartment in Denver's Capitol Hill on September 30. We moved in with our dear friend Jana (another Umbrella Factory Worker) on Denver's west side. On November 1, 2010, we left. Denver and Colorado vanished in the rear view mirror as we pushed west then north to Oregon. Yeah, October 2010 was a transition, as Janice said. Her claim, of course, is that all Octobers (at least for us on Colorado's Front Range) are transitional. On a small level, this may be true.

This October, and I don't know if it's because I'm watching it very closely, just seems like a warm, dry, yellowing leaf extension of summer. A few mornings there has been a light frost, but as I said, I still have tomatoes plants producing fruit.

I have noticed a few things about light this October. I will not be able to make a statement about transitions, but I can make a few illustrations about the light.

Recently, I read an old article call “L.A. Glows” (Weschler, Lawrence. The New Yorker, February 23 & March 2, 1998). Mr. Weschler made some pretty cool comments about the light in L.A. He even found out the scientific reason why the light in Southern California looks the way that it does. I enjoyed the article immensely. I wonder how much of it still holds true for L.A. today?

It made me think about light. I've always needed light. I like the daylight and I need it, and this is something that people who know me may not understand about me. I don't like the day, I don't like the sun on my body. These are true statements. I don't like the day because I do not like the hustle or the noise or the people of the day. As far as the sun, I've never like it on my body and as I've gotten older I've become almost paranoid about losing my pigment. Fuck, I'm white enough as it is. But when it comes to light, I need it. I need light coming through the windows when I write. I will not live in house or an apartment without a southern exposure. Sometimes when I write I lose track of time, at least clock time, but I'm always aware of the shifting of light.

This October, I've been exceptionally sensitive to the light. I've finally figured it out. As October has progressed, the leaves have fallen, the daylight at ground level at least has become whiter. It has become whiter, brighter even though the sun moves more and more southerly daily. The sun is white. Why do we paint the sun as a yellow orb when we're kids? It's not yellow. It's white. It's white when seen in space or here in Colorado.

White light does something to me. It bothers me, it really does. It washes the colors and depth out of just about everything. The distance is washed when seen in all 360 degrees. It's just hopelessly flat, underdeveloped and pale. Even the colors of everything close up: plant life, buildings, trash has lost the sheen of what it would normally look like, or at least how I think it should look.

It's taken this look at October, this year October, for me to realize what the distaste for place is. It's a funny thing too because I don't hate it here. I like my town. I have been in love with Denver at certain points of my life. I loved Elbert County where I spent so much of my youth. I think reading anything I've written that uses Colorado locations, I think it's pretty obvious that I have been in love with it here more than once. Incidentally, I have tried to escape Colorado on many occasions: 1990, the military; 1998, San Francisco then Lisbon then Mexico City; 1999, Oregon; 2005, Tucson; Oregon again in 2010. Some day, I hope to be successful in my escape.

The transition this month? There's been one. Maybe not a big one. It has a few facets. The light, yes, that's one. But there is something else too. I have been so down on Colorado for so long and my gripes are so many that is useless bringing up particulars. Yet as the light of October has been making me think, it makes me understand one thing: this must be the best place to be because this is where I am.

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