Walking across Harvard Yard this morning, I noticed a subtle difference. Whereas last week, the leaves were brown, yellow, orange, with hints of green and red, today they’re gone. There are some on the ground, sure, but all the trees are bare and there’s nothing left to shelter my eyes from the glaring sun.

This is my favorite season, but also one which breaks my heart. Every autumn I go back to the painful memories of 2001, when a minor event triggered a major fall in me, and a major event in the United States triggered a major fall in the world. The fact that that terrible week in the United States coincides with one of the worst weeks of my own life has not escaped me, in fact, I sometimes wonder if things had been different, would I be the same?

The vivid memories I have from that time amaze me. The bright purple of my shoes, the crisp smell in the air, the way I could hardly think without breaking into tears. Listening over and over to the same songs, hoping to find solace in a line. Finding a bit of sanity as the last of the leaves fell and Winter made its solemn debut.

October
And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

October
And Kingdoms rise
And Kingdoms fall
But you go on…

…and on…

Hello, November. Hello, Winter.