Over the past two weeks or so and with the passing of my 23rd birthday (thank you kindly to those who send me cards and messages)the slow realisation of autumn has hit home. Usually my birthday fits nicely with the beginning of autumn. The Canadians (like most places I guess) love Fall. They love the idea that all the 1st years (freshers) are all in good spirits yet to be dampened by the avid cynics and the examination blues. For me usually autumn goes past rather unconsidered, under appreciated and under valued. This years I have been thinking about the 'fall' and autumn for two reasons. Firstly, Canadian although has a relatively unimpressive population of 33 million compared to the UKs 67 million (approx). That said, where the Canadians wipe the floor with everyone hands down, is the population of trees. Within Edmonton alone surpasses the trillions I swear. They are everywhere. Trees are in abundance and are used in abundance. You rarely see the usage of brick for housing here. There is no need to manufacture them due to the pure amount of wood. As a result fall seems all that impressive when trees are continually dumping a blanket down, rather than the odd speckle present in most UK cities. It has to be said that Edmonton is rather beautiful in autumn. The shades of yellow to red, to brown is just phenomenal. I am constantly reminded of this when I walk the couple of blocks to campus with the roas lined with leafs with the feeling it is genuinely raining them. The rustling of the leaves, the swaying of the trees in the wind and the damp stale smell which always characterises autumn. The few nice days that are left until the cold winter just beg me to pick up my camera and just go walking taking pictures. Such urges I ha vent been able to hold off and gave in. The second reason is the sad and hard hitting reality that autumn is a precursor to the inevitable reality that this place shall get horrifically cold and continually so for the next 5 months or so. The fear of snow, snow, snow just makes me appreciate the time I have left. Its like a prisoner roaming the yard, knowing it is the only part of the day to get out and stretch. It genuinely feels like that. I am not taking a nice day for granted here. Over the past three years I think I have slowly grown an appreciation for a more outdoorsy sort of lifestyle and dabble in the countryside more than I ever used to. I always considered myself an urban teenager. I grew up in a city, I socialised in a city, for all intents and purposes I was a city boy. But since being at the barn, you realise there is a more to life than cement and traffic. I took a run today, the route I took is called the 'two bridges' route (for the reason you go across one bridge, along the river valley and across another bridge and back along the river valley). The route is amazing, yet challenging due to the valley hills you obviously have to tackle. What was most amazing about it was the views you got of the valley. I ran at around 7-7.30pm ish and the sun was just setting. It was that perfect orange hue sort of colour. I was running over the bridge and you see this quintessential view of the valley with trees lining either side, the river in between and just a crowd of yellow and brown trees quilting the valley hills. Was amazing. Really beautiful and appreciated so so much. Although if you really think about it Autumn has entirely sad connotations. Autumn is a time of death, leafs die and fall anyway and you are left with the bare minimum to survive. It is a survival tactic right? Something that seemed so full of energy, full of life seems lifeless and bare. The colour becomes a dampened feeling of monotone grey, limited in scope and excitement.
The irony here is that I have started to think and feel rather differently. I feel positive. I feel excited. I feel great. I have started to really find myself in all this chaos and come to the realisation that this is truly remarkable. The opportunity here is great. I was told that by a few people. 'You should enjoy the opportunity'. I agree. Its good advice. But to me I never really knew exactly what that opportunity entails, I had to see it first. I think the more time I spend involved in everything and anything, the more I realise that this is an opportunity. I have many people to thank for that, particularly my family, my mother. Thank you mum. You are the everything. So yes Autumn is upon us and the reality of a STUPIDLY COLD EXISTENCE over the next 5 months scares the daylights out of me. But in a good way. Yes, I cant believe I have been here for 5 weeks now, I remember when my brother went to San Diego for a month. It seemed like a life time. It really feels like yesterday I left. To some extent it will certainly feel that way when I go back. Time for me is flying right now, I have no idea why. I guess they say time flys when your having fun. I am in good spirits and I haven't really ever been any happier. I am very much still living in the moment and although I would love the idea that Edmonton could stay like it is now, warm and beautiful. I think the I will have to soon accept defeat on the former and experience a whole new Edmonton. Edmonton on ice. Lucky I have now got the biggest coat available on the shelf and a beaver hat. ahhh yeess !