The air was cool and crisp as I perched gingerly on top of a boulder that rose high enough to capture this magnificent view of Central Park: trees spread in fiery shades across the park and engulfed everyone in its presence. It was the middle of autumn, my favorite time of the year, and I sat there thinking about how beautiful the view was from up here.
Growing up in a tropical country for 20 years where rain and sun were pretty much the only seasons I knew, experiencing the lush of autumn in New York was quite a luxury. As a child, I used to watch movies filmed in Central Park and dream about the day I could walk beneath the trees with a significant other, clad in pretty black leather boots and an elegant cream-colored peacoat while we warmed our chilled palms with hot beverages that had wisps of smoke curling from the cups.
From my viewpoint, this beautiful park appeared to sweep across the landscape in burning bursts of red, yellow and orange. Splashes of green punctuated this fiery scene, remnants of summer that were soon to be forgotten in a few weeks. I could not think of a season that held more mystery than fall.
As I sat there, I thought of autumn as a beautiful tragedy — the wild flare of colors lend the illusion of trees coming to life, when in reality, the leaves are slowly passing away. It’s a season of change, when the old has to die in order for something new to surface. I know it’s a morbid thought when you’re sitting on top of the world and looking down at such a picturesque view, but it’s quite true.
I could already see trees with their branches exposed, bare against the cold air. Swelling gray clouds entailed showers of cold rain. The nostalgic realization dawned on me: nothing lasts forever. No matter how beautiful a season may be, it cannot last all year. You only have a few months to appreciate its glory, and then just as quietly as it’d entered your life, it must slowly dim away to pave room for a new season, a season of change: which in this case, was the unfavorable winter.
I could already taste it in the air, that winter was near.
But there was something so powerful about the transition, knowing that all of this could change in just a blink of an eye. At that moment, I learned that beautiful moments needed to be cherished fiercely with all of your heart, mind and soul. When you’re in a good season, you need to revel in it. Dance in its arms and drink its pleasure. Share it with your friends, pen every memorable moment in a journal and keep it close to your heart. Savor it.
Because change happens when you least expect it to, and that’s just how it is. Several weeks later, I woke up one morning and climbed the same boulder, but Central Park had already lost 90% of its leaves. The trees were bald and barren, and the sky was an even more permanent shade of gray. In the wake of winter, autumn remained a quiet memory, a cup of warmth to color the dull wintry days. It offered a slice of hope that if magic happened once, it could happen again.