And just like that, fall is here once more. Even before coming to New York, I've always loved the idea of fall. It's the romantic/pretentious arse (the same one that actually uses the word arse) in me. It's a result of that time in my life when I found myself eternally in the most quiet of library corners, reading poetry about the changing of the seasons and the slow, elegant dance of autumn leaves as they fall off branches. It's the result of reading too many Bienvenido Santos novels and short stories. In reality, the closest I had been to experiencing fall in Manila was when the fire trees would set ablaze the Ateneo grounds with their red-orage flowers.
Admittedly, when I finally got to experience fall last year, I was heavily disappointed. Angry, even. How could I see the poetry in the falling leaves when I could barely move my freezing fingers. This tropical boy, more than anything else, hated cold weather. While liberal, American teenage girls sashayed down Arthur Avenue wearing nothing but their stilettos and handkerchief-sized cloth they called tops, I was bundled up in several layers of shirts, jackets, leg warmers, scarves, hats and gloves.(#firstworldproblems, I know. I do have a point towards the end of this. Just be patient and not too judgy.)
Maybe it was because I missed my life in the Philippines - my friends, my work, the sweat-inducing heat, the awesome food - that I was all so emo last fall. This year was a little different though. While I still hate the cold with a passion, I have began to see fall with a different set of eyes and in a more positive light.
This is ironic considering the not so good things happening in other aspects of my life. I spent the first couple of weeks of October crying in trains, locking myself up in my room and stuffing my face with nuts and chocolates. But some more weeks later, just as the leaves began to turn red, orange and yellow before falling in a gentle spiral to the ground, something changed. Thanks to good friends and family, I realized that all is not lost, that nothing is ever lost in this life until you decide so, until you stop trying, until you stop fighting.
Truly, this is one of the more difficult times in my life. I don't remember having cried this much for a long time. It's been ages since I last desired something so badly that it hurt so terribly when I finally did not get it. Yet, as with the other mysteries of life, it is also one of the most blest. I have come to learn more about my self - my strengths and my limits - and the things that truly matter to me than I have in the past several years. I have learned to hold on tight to the anchors that keep me strong and steady in the midst of storms that may shake or break the boat that carries me.
And so it is that certain parts of our lives are like fall that signal the end just as much as it whispers the coming of a new beginning. It is in the autumn of our lives, when days are shorter and nights are longer, and the wind blows intolerably cold that we are forced to shed parts of ourselves, and for a while remain seemingly empty and ready for new life to spring. It is in this blazing promise of hope - when trees are like lit up candles - and newness that fall becomes truly beautiful in its own way.