Reading on my balcony in Deerfield, every few minutes my eyes are drawn skyward to the sound of a jet, or of a southbound flock of Canadian Geese.
Autumn has sneaked into the Midwest. Hopefully it will grace my home shores of the Strawberry Coast soonish.
I don’t find many here in Illinois who share the sentiment, and I acknowledge that my joy at the coming of Fall is colored by the mild and pleasant winters of the California Coast rather than the lake effect blizzards that punctuate the season hereabouts.
For me, the sharpening chill of October evenings makes me think of sweaters, thick socks, and a good book with a cup of something hot. It means fast boat rides on windy chop, migrating whales, and the constant tang of the Pacific in the air. It means comfortable camping in tent and RV, a banket across my legs before the campfire is kindled.
It is meals in a Sukkah, a giddy dance with the Torah, the ranks of children knocking on our door on Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner, Chanukah lights, carols, movies, and school breaks with my son. It is the World Series, my son’s basketball schedule, and bowl games.
Fall is first and foremost an affirmation of life in the maw of the oncoming chill. And for that it will ever be my favorite season.
Fly on, old friends, I think as another flock honks southward. May you find peaceful flyaways far from the engines of airplanes.
Waiting for the shuttle.
Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go…
Aaron breaking his Yom Kippur fast: chicken tenders, onion rings, prime rib, fingerling potatoes, and sourdough rolls.
Picking up goodies for Sunny and Aaron at the 85C Bakery in San Jose before heading south on the 101.
The cheese potato puffs tested my will-power nearly to the limit, but I persevered.
We got to the camp at 9pm, along with a group of other parents. The gates were locked, so we had to work around them. We managed to do so without damaging any property. By the time the scouts were checked in and found their campsite, it was nearly 2300.
I was so wiped I could barely assemble a coherent sentence, and the twelve hours elapsed since my last little repast wasn’t helping. I checked into the Anaheim Marriott at 10 minutes to midnight.
From a service standpoint, this was one of the best Marriotts in the chain, and the staff managed to smile and empathize me out of my stupor for long enough to order dinner before passing out. From the 19th floor a darkening California Adventure beckoned, but, bereft as I was of spouse, offspring, and annual pass, was not on the schedule for the morrow.
I contented myself with a glance out the window as I hummed the Tiki Room song and felt a goofy grin spread across my tired face.
Sitting at Ventura Harbor on an early fall Friday afternoon, waiting for the boat from Santa Cruz Island and staring at my watch, I’m trying to display calm, but I’m thinking about how I have to:
- pick up my Scout after a week of camping;
- get him home, cleaned up and re-packed in about fifteen minutes flat;
- get him back in the car;
- pick up another scout and his gear;
- drive them both though four hours of Friday night L.A. and Orange County traffic;
- feed them;
- get them to their campground and checked in;
- feed myself;
- find my hotel and check in;
and do all of that by midnight without falling asleep.
Here it is only 5:10pm, and I am already dozing off.
Yet I retain my outward calm. The sun is shining. The weather is nice. And I have 36 hours before I need to head to Chicago.
From Campout to Conclave. Six nights. Two camps. One sleeping bag. A day in the life of a fifteen year-old outdoorsman.