21 September 2009
An autumnal reminiscence.
I remember running through the autumn air when I was in grade school. I remember its chill, fresher than normal air--crispier, too-- and the crunch of the dead grass underfoot as I scampered along its vast infinite surface. In an odd way, it was magical, mystical to be outside on a fall day. The leaves had turned colors, and some of them had already turned as crisp as the air, turned brown, and busied themselves with scraping along the pavement as the wind carried them off to somewhere. I remember playing football with the other boys in the neighborhood. I remember the thrill of the game-- I played quarterback-- and wearing my old Brett Favre jersey so I could pretend to be him for the day. It made me a better player, I was sure of it. All of us wore jerseys-- all of us pretended, I suppose. We would play until the sun drooped too low in that brisk autumn sky and we couldn't see anymore. Usually, we played in the neighbor's yard, and their floodlights would come on as an unspoken sign that we should go home because dinner was ready and our houses were warm and lamp-lit and forgiving. I remember the grass stains on my jeans, the smell of the outside on my fleece jacket, and the scent of everyone's different detergent as we slammed each other into the hard earth. Our noses would run--our ears and noses turned pink and burned in the cold. My hands, much like they still do today, would turn dry around the knuckles, and sometimes they would crack and bleed, but I didn't care because we were playing football and I had to lead the team. I was so full with life then, too human, too strong as a ten year old, that it only bolstered and goaded me on. Real players bled. I was Brett Favre. Do the math.