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I was walking the dog in the front yard yesterday afternoon.  

The Daughter, who's been attending school remotely 3x per week (the other two days, she is IN the actual brick-and-mortar school) came out and said she was finished with her last class (it was about 2:45pm) and in a sing-songy voice, she says, "it's the weeeeeeeeekend!"

I suppose it is.  TGIF? At the time I started writing this, it was still Friday.

She then tilted her head towards the heavens, and smiled.  "I can smell it."

I looked at the dog.  Had he taken a shit and she'd stepped in it?  

Negative.  No dog shit.  

I sniffed.  Maybe a neighbor was barbecuing?  Maybe someone had a fire pit going?  The smell of burning wood IS one that I like - but nope.  I smelled nothing.  Nothing at all.  If not for me smelling the dog's ACTUAL poop that morning, I'd have started sniffing everything that was possible to sniff - just to make sure that I wasn't sick - during the wifey's and my COVID experience in April, we'd both lost our sense of smell for nearly a week.  When I was certain I'd smelled SOMETHING recently (perhaps the dog shit from that morning?) I turned to my daughter.

"OK, what do you smell?" I finally asked her.

"Fall!"  She said, "I smell it.  It's coming.  It's in the air!"

I gave a short nod.  "Oh."

Y'all know I hate the fall.  My daughter, unfortunately, does not.  And why not?  She's a teenager, she hates everything else!  She hates school, she hates homework, she hates certain people on certain days of the week.  Why couldn't she hate the Fall, too?  All the colors changing, the cooler nights, the hoodie weather, the being-able-to-be-outside-without-underboob-sweat?  If I'm being honest, these are actually nice things, the scenery is breathtaking, the hoodies are for SURE my go-to when there's that not-too-cold chill in the air - they get me through the  'regular' winters (to this day, I don't own a winter coat) and it's the season for pumpkin-spiced everything.  Nothing screams "FALL" louder than the arrival of such a delightful flavor.  And damn it, I DO like the pumpkin spice - it's just not available until...well, now.  

And, damn it, this kid got my brain wheels turning.  AS SOON AS SHE SAID THAT.  And it wasn't the nice things I was thinking about, either.  

I handed her the dog's leash and told her to see if she could get him to poop.  Rationally, I already know that we are transitioning out of summer and into what comes next.  The same thing that 'came next' for the last twenty-four years.  That almost-automatic foreboding feeling, though - was starting to sink in.  I'd be lying if I said it started right then at that moment - but, no.  I'd already noticed the shorter and cooler evenings, the frosty breaths while the dog goes out for the last time before bed.  We are still green as far as leaves go, but the signs are all there.  Halloween candy has appeared on the store shelves.  The 'limited edition' scents are being released - Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin this, Pumpkin that, Apple-Pumpkin, Roasted Marshmallow, you name it, Bath and Body Works probably has a sickening amount of it in overstock.

I can't explain this feeling, though.  I know, though, that I don't have to.  You all get it.  I'm not by any means 'cured.'  I still remember my trauma (at least, the 1996 one) as if it were only yesterday.  While the nightmares and flashbacks very rarely occur anymore, there is still somewhat of a cloud that rolls in around this time of year, and just....stays in place for a few weeks.  I'm more on edge, I'm easily annoyed and irritated, I'm snappy.  My sleeping habits go from weird to weirder. I spend a good amount of time internalizing and playing the avoidance game - having a ton of schoolwork does admittedly help keep me focused on ANYTHING BUT my thoughts.  

Not sure if all of that is good or bad, but like all else, it'll have to run its course.  :shrug: 

Tonight's journal entry will be a short one and was intended to be one, also.  I just wanted to share the 'ugh' feeling that is settling in for a visit.  I certainly hope this year's 'fall season' is a brief one and I can get to complaining about the snow...

Wishing everyone a good rest of the weekend!

- Cap


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