Friday, September 24

Autumn Valley & the Peppermint Lady

Welcoming autumn with a bit of dismay these past two weeks or so, I was nearly overjoyed at the prospect of a warm, sunny, Friday, off-of-work afternoon. I didn't even mind the inconsiderate car that tried to run me and two colleagues off the road or the futile, frustratingly poorly timed traffic lights or the second-hand smoke wafting into my lungs and slowly killing me (ok, so I minded the smoke part). However it was The. Most. Glorious! walk home EVER (in September).

Normally uninspired by such things as being overdressed in the blazing sun I was euphoric (and already mildly sweaty) thus concluded I'd go for a last-of-the-season jog. I changed my clothes and laced up the sneakers (after digging them out from under all the sensible fall boots I'd already moved to the front row of my closet).

Since it was not a national holiday and still before 2pm I had the trail virtually to myself. To avoid the preemptive rush-hour assault I veered down a side street and into the river valley.

I had already determined that this jog was not a last ditch effort for summer weight loss (plus I had just read an article that concluded exercise, unless it's over 250 minutes per week of the most intense variety, doesn't actually contribute much to pound-shedding type goals...apparently the tried and true method of 'skipping dessert' is much more effective - who knew?!) rather this jog was to be an experience of the Great Outdoors (Urban Edition).

And Great it was. I may (or may not) be the sentimental type, but I nearly shed a tear when I descended into the river valley. (Sentimental fool!) There before me was an effortless and untarnishable beauty that made silly things like diamonds & Mona Lisas look like a disorganized cutlery drawer.

I am not one for waxing poetic (but am in fact the poetic type) but this was a thing to gush about! Innocent blue skies brushed with good-natured clouds to set a backdrop of beauty, both striking and humble, for the jovial colours dotted throughout the still-green tree tops like some kind of practical joke in artistry.
Obviously I considered taking a photograph, but I have learned through many a soul-crushing trial, that often times the most touchingly beautiful things cannot be captured justly on 'film' (aka. in megapixels).

I think one of my fondest travel memories from when I was in China was an instant in Beijing where we emerged from an underground mall via escalator into a sparsely populated square (by local standards) festively lit and just settling into its dusk colored dress. It was so magical that I surely had to capture the moment...and alas my camera batteries had other plans. So by the time I'd swapped in the new double AAs, the place was behind us an out of my potential photo portfolio forever.
I lamented that missed opportunity a lot after I returned home and reflected on everything. Every time I remembered the trip I wished I could show people this magical beauty that I experienced...until one day I realized that the picture I was holding in my mind was far more beautiful than that square ever really was - and I would probably be heartily disappointed if I (ever) were to return even at the exact moment and in the exact conditions.

It was then that I realized that there was an integral difference between pictorial and memory form - my memory never contradicted the increasingly grandiose beauty I bestowed upon that little Chinese plaza.

It made me glad to have forgotten my camera, really! So now I hope to start building my memory files instead of just my JPGs... and I hope others have some similar memories too!

But wait, crap! I was so enthralled in the beauty if autumn and the memories of foreign places I forgot to mention The Peppermint Lady.

Next time. Next time.

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