Photo: Ed Karjala

Happy Fall Matador, or Spring, wherever you are. May you be transparent.

THE FIRST DAY OF FALL and as Sarah says it brings on the ‘onslaught of cliches’ like woodsmoke and falling leaves but like anything else it all depends on where you are.

Here on the Gulf Coast of Florida there aren’t really seasons except for rainy and dry. Here it’s a game of burying any sign of things changing or growing older, much less falling or dying, as evinced by the plastic surgery places on Highway 41 and the inordinate number of old ladies on the beaches with non wobbly mega-tits.

It’s like this on so many levels. Looking out the window there’s a dude from chem-lawn hosing down the yard across the street with some foul-looking liquid.

Earlier today Layla and I went to the park where there is a section of old flatwoods and trails shaded by the oak and long-needle pine. Usually there’s nobody here and we end up exploring these trails, Layla asking for “food” when we pass the stalks of fennel, a wild edible I showed her when we first got here and which, like everything else, she hasn’t forgotten since.

Today there were some other nenas though, four little happy girls worming up the slides, and Layla wanted only to be with them even though she was shy at first only looking at them and smiling, saying “baby nena.”

Later they had to go. When you’re a parent you learn you never can just leave a place, it always takes stopping several times along the way. Layla saw them stop at the last section of playground, and said “otro parque,” which meant she wanted to go over there with them to the ‘other park.’

It made me think about Sarah’s blog the other night about the parks in Mexico, the “llanos,” and how life is lived out there in the open, a kind of transparency that I could never imagine existing here but have always wanted just the same.

Layla went over to play with the kids a few minutes more without worrying about symbolism or where we were. Another kind of transparency.

I think I’ve always loved autumn because back in Georgia where I grew up it was cooler but still warm, and usually the driest time of the year, the best for walking down to the Chattahoochee river and watching everything fall which is still another kind of transparency. Go back there with the right kind of eyes and ears and you can practice being invisible.