Thursday, August 18, 2011

My favorite season? The one with the most yellow in it: the last two weeks of August.

That my birthday falls within these weeks has nothing to do with why I like this time of year. I have never enjoyed celebrating my birthday, and for years I was never sure why. Then a recent conversation caused me to dig deeper. What I saw was a cake being lowered and people singing "Happy Birthday." But while some were singing with love in their hearts, others screamed the song with all the sarcasm they could muster. I think it was the two together that put me off my birthday.

An enduring memory is my nine-year-old self walking along the railroad tracks between West 33rd and West 37th (the bend closest to 37th). I am unsure whether I am walking north (towards home) or south (towards Mary’s Confectionary), but what I do know is that it is just after 4PM on the second-to-last Sunday in August and the sky is clear and the sun is hot. The grass around me is a scorched yellow or gold, and the creosote is thick in the air. There is a heat ripple, but in my mind I see it not in the distance but precisely where I stood when the moment registered.

When I die I shall return to this moment, make it my eternity.

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