Hey, gang! Welcome to EP 15 of my podcast, “Something That I Wrote.”
It’s a bit of a cold morning, where I am. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but looking out my bedroom window, it sure seems it. The sky is just grey. There is no sunshine and there is no blue. There aren’t any clouds, either, and so there aren’t any daydreams, at least none coming from this fellow.
I’m listening to a pair of folk singers, a husband and a wife team. They’re Canadian, despite what they play almost sounding like cowboy music. I even heard them on the CBC. Anyways, they’re singing about wandering and drifting and loneliness, and so, between their noise and the way the sky looks, I’m feeling awfully melancholy. Grey skies’ll do that to you, I guess. Same with cowboy songs.
I feel so melancholic cause I’m leaving soon, and the consequence of that is finally starting to emerge. I am suddenly understanding what it means to be moving away. I will be away from all of the people and the places I have leaned on for structure, support and self-purpose for so long, so long that without them I worry I’ll crumble into some vague anonymity, pulled helplessly along like a feather on a breeze. I am saying goodbye. I am leaving. I am about to look, one last time, upon this glorious town of mine. I will walk its streets. I will stop and stare. I will wait by a window and I will wonder, one last time, who has loved and lost and lived inside. One last time. I will stand in the middle of Queen Street, late into the evening, when no one else is around, and into the quiet, vacant night, and my heart, I will scream: Goodbye, glorious NOTL. Goodbye, glorious sweetheart. Goodbye, glorious family and neighbours and pals. Goodbye.
It has me melancholic, but not necessarily sad. They are not the same thing, not to me. I am melancholic but I am not sad because I know I will be back, when I can. When the time is right I will be back. I have always believed this but I know now it is true. To everything there is a season. Spring becomes summer, summer becomes fall, fall becomes winter and winter turns to spring. You know how the old song goes: To everything there is a season, and they turn, turn, turn.
I wrote this story as one season became another. It was last September, and it was the first day of my Great Year. I had decided, the spring before, that after the upcoming summer I wasn’t gonna go back to school. Instead, I’d spend that fall and that winter and that spring and that summer writing. It would be my Great Year. I did. It was.
On the same day that everybody around me headed back up the sidewalk towards their schools, I headed downtown. I had a backpack, too, just as they did, and I had a notebook and pens. But I was headed for a coffeeshop, not a campus. I headed downtown, on foot, not having anywhere else to go and not having any way to get there if I did. I knew that if I wanted to make my Great Year truly worthwhile I needed to truly work, and by truly work I mean truly write, and though sometimes that fills my soul with some kinda splendor, it is work nonetheless. Truly. And because I didn’t have an office I headed to the next best thing, as far as I could tell. I didn’t sit in my favourite seat in the corner – not that day. I didn’t know then that I would come to have a favourite seat there, but boy, did I ever. I didn’t know it then, either, but, as the seasons changed, from that same coffeeshop I would go on to write about timing, snowstorms, bastards, record grooves, car crashes, drunken decisions, sober reflections, watermelon, hope, and all the other words you’d like to use to define this. Depending on the season, I was sad, smiling, stoned, thirsty, eager, inspired, frustrated, driven, tired, desperate, manic, delirious, giggly, or fucking proud. I longed for my sweetheart, for meaning, and for more caffeine. In that coffeeshop, I cried, I laughed, I bled, I slept, I hoped, I stumbled, I searched, I thought, I read, and, more than anything else, I wrote. I wrote. I wrote. I wrote.
I spent many days of my Great Year there. I’d love to spend many, many more. (Someday I will. To everything there is a season.) Many of the days have melted together into a seamless, shuffled kaleidoscope, the memories jumbled together like souvenirs and knicknacks and faded postcards and crumbled letters and coins and bits of string inside a desk drawer. But the first day of my Great Year was a special one and I have not forgotten it. It was the first day of a new era of my life and of my self. It was the start of my journey to becoming a writer – a journey I’ve not finished yet; I hope I never do – and if it hadn’t been as successful as it was I might not be writing this to you now. But it was successful. It was a good day. It started my Great Year and it started my new journey, and it started it with a story called “Some Things End In Springtime, Some Things Start In Fall.”
As I walked to the coffeeshop that morning, I thought all kinds of thoughts. I thought about the year ahead, and where I was headed, and how I was gonna get there. I thought about how nearly everyone I knew was leaving me – the way I am now leaving them – and yet, while many things around me seemed to be departing, there were, also, some very significant things arriving. I think they must’ve greeted each other at the train station, even, and I bet they linked arms and did the do-si-do. It got me thinking all sortsa thoughts about seasons and perspectives, and those thoughts ended up as this story. This story came knocking on my door and demanded I start writing it, and once I started writing I did not stop, and now here we are, and still, I am writing.
And now here I am, too, sharing that story with you. Even though it is not the final episode, in some ways, it is the final story. I wrote it last year, right at this time. That fall I was deliberately avoiding school; this fall I’m deliberately headed there. To everything there is a season, and they turn, turn, turn.
I have watched this story blossom with me throughout this Great Year. It has gone through every season, just as I have. Now we return to fall; the circle is complete. We have grown. We will grow. To everything there is a season, and they turn, turn, turn.
I have spent my Great Year wandering. I have gone out into the wild unknown, naked and free, and I have come back where I started. I am different now – I have grown – but some things remain constant. Some things do not change. They pass through the seasons and they emerge unaltered, or slightly, if at all. But we all go back to where we belong. Things change, things stay the same, and we all go back to where we belong. Now, this story has ended up where it belongs, and so have I. Even though I’m leaving I’ll be back soon. I will go back to where I belong. So will you. We all do. Cause sometimes, some things do end in springtime, and sometimes, some things do start in fall. To everything there is a season.