By J. Hogan
-Gains & Gleanings-
Summer’s winding down. The sun slides further south in the Pennsylvania sky, and the day’s heat starts to dissipate as night settles in earlier and earlier.
There’s a lot of nostalgia for me in the fall. Even the color of the sunlight seems tinged with it.
The way the smell of the diners sits in the cool morning air in West Park reminds me of marching out into the crisp air at Ft. Leonard Wood in shorts and a tee shirt for jumping jacks, push-ups and a long morning run with my fellow recruits. We’d last eaten in the early evening and our stomachs rumbled as we passed through the breakfast aromas emanating from the mess halls.
I remember how Joey Konkiel (rest in peace) and I would walk around town as teens, talking music and nonsense, able to leave the air conditioning of the arcade now that the day’s heat no longer lingered.
Fumble Annie in yards and long-tossing a football on the bricks of Woodward Avenue, starting a fire down at the river to keep warm as Jim Carroll and I fished into the night. It all comes back when Fall’s imminent for me.
When we lived in San Diego, where the weather is pretty perfect 90% of the year, the seasons didn’t mean a lot, but I would drive the family up to the mountains to seek out a place with deciduous trees, dew on the morning grass and ripe apples at farm stands.
My Irish, German, and Polish skin loves the early Spring and the Fall.
No slathering of sunscreen necessary, but my mind? Baseball usually occupied too much of my mental bandwidth in Springtime. Autumn allowed more room for the inner poet to take note of my surroundings, and I’ll bet that has a lot to do with why it draws me so.
This year I’ll be even more intentional about getting out and enjoying the season. I need to unplug from the contention of election season, social disruption, burning cities and the work of adapting to new work circumstances, and I will.
I’ll head out with my wife for a couple of overnights, and take my old fishing bud Jim up to Erie.
Even daily I hope to walk and enjoy the crisp air in town.
I’ve seen 51 Autumn seasons begin. I was born a couple of days into my first one. It seems my bent to enjoy them, so as the clock of life ticks on, I ought go ahead and enjoy.
I hope you find time to do so as well.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.