Today is October 15th, which must mean that it is fall. I used to hate fall when I was younger and time moved more slowly. I didn't actually mind fall itself, I just hated that it meant the end of summer and the transition into cold, dark days that lasted a month or two longer than they should. Fall was the end of the good times and the beginning of the bad.
Now that I'm older and time moves more quickly, I can appreciate fall for it's beautiful, crisp self. The sunshine turns thinner, not smothering you with summer heat. Light slants through the leaves on our afternoon walks, and evenings begin to promise hot chocolate and warm blankets.
Fall is a time that begs for a walk in the forest. The yellow leaves turn the sunlight golden, and you can crunch through the fallen leaves, kicking up the spicy smell of leaf mulch from the forest floor. I love to collect brilliantly-colored leaves, finding endless ways of combining yellow, orange, red, and brown into an infinite of intricate patterns. After the walk, when your cheeks are tingling and your fingers chilled, a cup of hot cider warms you up perfectly.
That is how I remember fall being in America. That is not how fall is here in Dushanbe.
I'm sure there are some forests in Tajikistan, but they're mostly in remote mountain tops where nobody can get to them with a saw to cut them down. There are some parks with trees in Dushanbe, but they are planted mostly with sycamores, and sycamores never turn yellow, only slowly fading into a rusty brown before falling off. The air might be crisp, but it's filled with the scent of burning cow dung and coal as everyone burns whatever they can to keep their houses warm.
But, we can warm up apple juice and pretend that it's cider.
To tell the truth, we've never lived in any country (other than America) that has those picture-perfect forests that beg for a fall walk. Egypt has never seen forests, and Azerbaijan had a few, but they were a bit of a drive away. But when all my friends in nice countries that see rainfall on a regular basis post pictures of their lovely fall walks, I can't help but eat my heart out.
And of course our next post in Uzbekistan won't have anything much better. But I suppose that is the way of life. One day I'll have my fall walks again and I'll remember the long years where I didn't have them and I will enjoy those walks even more for the contrast. But until then, I'll just have to be patient.