I’ve got my second cup between me and the keys. Outside it’s raining.
Raining. Water. Falling from the sky.
It got me thinking about Albany, NY and my son. I grew up in Albany – remarkable as a capital of a powerful state, excessive snow (by most except New England standards), and a thriving cultural scene. I haven’t been back in over a decade – thirteen years to be exact.
A lot can change in that time. The country had a recession. Wars have slowed and resurged. Earth has claimed a transition wreaking havoc. A new president came in. Social media became a thing. I got a few degrees. I traveled. I got married. I had a kid.
Oh, and I wrote a few books.
Meanwhile, the picture I had in my head of Albany stayed. There was a certain day in November when I skipped down Pine Street, following a boy on a stunting bike, as the first flurry fell. There was wandering through Washington Park, in a light drizzle, wearing boots and raincoats, checking out the Tulip Fest vendors as they huddled away from the elements.
There was the wine we somehow ordered on Lark Street well before we were old enough. There were the sweet potato fries from Bombers. There were all the nooks and crannies teens find to explore their bodies and emotional depths. There were the cafes where my voice rang out. The incense. The cut grass.
And always weather – clouds, cold, mud, wet, slush, ice, and snow.
Despite the roller coaster of my formative years, I think fondly of Albany – of the weather. It’s the same for other places later in life, like Huntingdon PA, Szombathely Hungary, Managua Nicaragua, or Leicester England.
But the weather rarely comes here in Southern California. My son rarely sees rain, and never snow unless it’s shipped in. His time blurs together, marked by holiday decorations rather than temperature and precipitation.
Part of me mourns this for him. Another wonders how that feels. I can’t imagine. I don’t remember my first snow. I was probably less than a month old. I don’t remember my first fall filled with fiery leaves and smoky air. I don’t remember those things because they were always a part of my experience.
Novelty and normalcy – it’s all relative. It’s all strange.
I’m getting another coffee.
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