Brokenhearted sky / by laurel

Fall. Fall elicits an interesting reaction in me when I live somewhere like here. Here where, like the botox’ed brow of an Orange County soccer mom, Fall expresses no emotion whatsoever. It is my fifth LA Fall. There were eighteen Oregon Falls that came before it, and now more than ever, I find myself longing for the one thing I never thought I’d miss.
I miss that glum, messy, tattered Oregon Fall. I miss the inconsistency; the way the weather can turn on a dime—literally turn its back and instead of sunshine there is only surliness and rain. Oh, tormented weather. Brokenhearted sky. Without clouds, the world’s emotions are free to wander, to shoot off into distances too far for emotions to safely travel. But under the protective arm of that expansive wispy cloudcover, emotions can build: There is a lack of color there, but not of feeling.
If I could describe Oregon to you, it would be in two words: green and gray. It exists in a place where there is both a lack of color and a deep, pervading saturation of pigment. Mostly it is seen smeared past moving car windows or melting into a puddle. It is forgotten, overlooked; white noise that converses with consciousness but never interrupts the senses.
But to notice Oregon--to see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it--is to understand the deepest sense of longing.
The clouds are pasted thick across the sky, longing to speak to the ground in whispers, in shouts, in angry hailstones and tiny droplets. The ground, in turn, longs for the sun for which it will blush and flourish the deepest shades of green. There are more colors in the pervasive gray than you can count; subtle gradations which not even Ansel Adams could account for. The trees cannot see the forest for its leaves, as they are mostly long fallen, and long to be hidden from the damning prideful gaze of the evergreens; ever-green, ever-scornful.
Fall in Oregon is a whirlwind gathering of atmospheric conditions, of hot and cold, dry and wet. Fall in Oregon is but to pause. It is an indrawn breath, holding in twilights and dew and burgeoning clouds and possibilities and frothy wet ground. It exhales in 24-hour repetitions, each daybreath consistent and the same as the one that came before it. The sun will rise unnoticed behind a fringe of clouds, the ground will hear a thousand secrets as the clouds spill the gossip they can no longer bear to hold, the trees will stand as silent soldiers against the mist that charges across unproductive fields. And night will slip in, unnoticed, eschewing the days' monotony for blackness that is at once still, damp and wild.
When I am in Oregon, I long to be elsewhere--but when I've seen what L.A. has to offer, a sentence bursting with adjectives, with exclamations, with superfluous semantics, I find myself longing for the thoughtful, calculated response Oregon speaks. Saying, sparely, only what is essential.
And so the California Fall slips in, unnoticed. In the indifferent warm-weather smugness of the season, the leaves fail to transition. There are no oranges or reds, only leaves that are alive, and leaves that are dead. Emotions continue to flitter into the horizon, held back by nothing, and the sky has no one to speak to because the ground is too busy organizing piles of dead leaves to notice.