All The Leaves Are Brown, And The Sky Is Gray…

This lyric has been stuck in my head for days now. Stuck to the point that I feel as though I need to put it down, here in the lair, to rid myself of its haunting presence. I’m not even a fan of The Mamas and The Papas. All I know about them, really, is that Cass Elliot did voiceover work for a guest role on “The Haunted Candy Factory,” one of my favorite New Scooby Doo Movies, and Michelle Phillips played Jenice Manheim, Captain Picard’s love interest in the first season TNG episode, “We’ll Always Have Paris.”

[Talk about the useless flotsam of geek life…]

So why this lyric from a song I don’t even have on my iPod? The season is changing. Wispy white tendrils against cerulean sky now shift to casket-colored cloud cover, perforated by random slivers of diffused sunlight. Mornings are tinged with a chill that is slow to burn away and quick to return come dusk. I think all those triple-digit summer scorchers are now nothing more than a memory.

Early morning sunlight is now almost another summer memory, darkness still slumbering even when my alarm goes off. Every morning, I stumble in a sleep-clumsy haze through the dim stillness, my usual avian serenade now fallen silent. The birds have hatched their young and the nests are empty.

My already clockwork-precise ablutions must be even more hurried, as now I’m racing against the additional school-year traffic: parents hitting the road early to drop off der kinder, and buses galumphing along like wounded wildebeests, belching diesel and halting all passage as they slow to consume surly school-bound passengers. My autumnal commute always increases in length and misery.

Usually, I’m not this maudlin about the changing of the seasons. This year has not been a “usually” kind of year. I think it’s the rapidly dwindling evening light that’s affecting me the most. Post-dinner walks are edging ever closer to the fringe of total darkness. Soon the cold and the dark will be more than I’ll care to fight. My sneakers will remain stationary and I’ll no longer have the ability to outpace the thoughts from which I’ve been running all summer.

One of the most wonderful things about an East Coast autumn is the firework-bright color shift in the foliage: a timpani of bottle rocket red and flames of sparkler orange, bombastic bursts of yellow. Landscapes like a painter’s palate, splashed with frenzies of bright and bold.

Summer’s unmerciful heat, however, has left its mark on many of the trees in our neighborhood. Dull brown leaves have already dropped, their dessicated husks scraping and rasping beneath our shoes. I worry that the painter’s palate has dried out too much this year. Fireworks may have been postponed due to the heat.

There is always a silver lining, though. October is just around the corner, home of my favorite holiday of all. No matter what age I am, I will always love Halloween. No longer for the costumes or the candy, but for the scares that inevitably accompany its arrival. Cable channels love thematic programming, which means lots of terror-ific viewing to frighten and entertain me on those cold house-bound days.

Halloween is as far as I can think right now. The rest of the holidays are too much, too close. Too everything that I’m not ready to bear.

And there, denizens, are my thoughts expunged. Lyrical demons exorcised? Perhaps. Then again, perhaps it’s time I finally added some Mamas and Papas to my playlist. Now I must return to the daily grind. Things are a bit overwhelming at work right now, which is why I have been so absent of late. Never fear, though. I shall return in a more regular capacity soon enough.

Until then, here’s a photo that always cheers me up. It’s a rejected publicity shot of Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine (Okay, who is surprised right now that it would be a Star Trek photo? No one? Good). It’s from the rare photo section of I don’t really understand why it was rejected, as I think it’s one of the best photos ever taken of Ryan as Seven. Gorgeous chiaroscuro treatment and a classy accentuation of those parts of her that held her to her Borg past while downplaying those parts of her that made her salaciously Human (especially in those skin-tight catsuits!). That’s probably why this photo was rejected. Not…er, titillating enough. Ah well. It’s still beautiful. Whoever the photographer was, they should be very proud of this composition. It’s absolutely wonderful.