Looking north to Pasadena from Raymond Hill.
On a fall day in Illinois when I was about fifteen, the skies were like these skies--cloudy and restless. It was my first year in high school. The route home from school was about a mile, maybe a little more. I could have cut through the neighborhoods to Lions Park but instead I took Taylor Street, because it was straighter and it got me to the same place. I guess I was in a hurry.
As I crossed the bridge over the Kishwaukee River a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me. It was a beautiful melancholy, an adult feeling I'd never felt before. I wanted to understand it, to keep it.
I slowed down and cut through the park, shuffling through the mixture of pine needles and autumn leaves on the ground. I didn't have words for the feeling, but I knew Time was moving--I was moving. There was no stopping either of us and precious things were being left behind. The brand new knowledge of that enormity was what I wanted to savor.
I stayed among the pine trees, as though stepping out into the open would end the spell. A trickle of river ran alongside the grove, and from where I stood I could see the small shelter by the baseball diamond. The park was empty. I waited as long as I could, hiding in the trees and holding my new feeling until some kids came along on bikes, breaking into the autumn silence. It was time to go home.
Fleeting time is a familiar concept to me now. It's just as enormous as it was then--no less beautiful and no less sad.