Owed to autumn

Autumn really didn’t get a fair shot in Shanghai this year. I fear I may have jinxed my high hopes for my favourite season in a mid-September journal entry:

In one of my classes this week we discussed our favourite season(s). Maybe because it was the season featured in the textbook, but there was much talk of spring, and what happens in spring (花开了,草长了,people fall in love, etc.). But spring to me is, though glorious, a gust of fresh air that is in too much of a hurry to turn humid, a tease, an undecided customer. It’s a kid who, every few days, knocks on your door but runs away before you can open it. By the time everyone’s agreed that it’s arrived, it has left again with barely a scribble in the guestbook. Autumn, on the other hand, and at least in the places I’ve lived in, is no-nonsense, mature, too old for pranks. When it comes you appreciate the gradual drop in temperature and takes enough time bidding farewell that you’re ready for what comes next. It begins the school year and reignites all the possibility that comes with it. Though the shrinking day makes me sad, it also makes me want to be productive while it lasts, and to write pointless emo entries like this.

Instead, I was shown yet another example of how one just cannot carry preconceived notions to China and expect to use them as currency. “Autumn” this year ended up fitting exactly the qualities I used to describe spring, which is to say, barely existent. We had a few beautiful days back in October, but other than that, it’s basically gone from humid and hot to wet and cold and windy in a matter of days. Autumn–with its changing colours, cool crisp air, and days that make you want to stay outside forever–never even got a chance.

Maybe it’s typical Shanghai, and I’m just grumpy because I was spoiled in Philly–which is gorgeous in the fall–these last five years, and nostalgia is getting the better of me. But according to Shanghaiist, the city is experiencing its earliest winter of the decade. Boo. We’ve had nothing but grey skies, wind, rain, and numb feet & hands for the past week. I can only seek comfort in the words of a favourite poem (holler at Keats) while holding out hope that this might mean spring will come early, be lovely, and play fair. (Yearite.)

[Edit 11/29: The past week ended up being really nice and warm and beautiful :D]


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